Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun

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Bf 108 Taifun
D-EBFW, a 1937-built Bf 108B-1 painted to represent a pre-war company demonstrator D-IBFW
Role Sport and touring aircraft
Manufacturer Bayerische Flugzeugwerke
Designer Willy Messerschmitt
First flight 1934
Introduction 1935
Retired 1945
Primary users Luftwaffe
Armée de l'Air
Manchukuo National Airways
Number built 885[1]
Variants Nord 1000 Pingouin
Nord Noralpha

The Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun (English: "Typhoon") was a German single-engine sport and touring aircraft, developed by Bayerische Flugzeugwerke in the 1930s. The Bf 108 was of all-metal construction.

Design and development[edit]

Originally designated the M 37, the aircraft was designed as a four-seat sports/recreation aircraft for competition in the 4th Challenge International de Tourisme (1934).[2][3] The M 37 prototype flew first in spring 1934, powered by a 250 PS (247 hp, 184 kW) Hirth HM 8U 8.0 litre displacement, air-cooled inverted-V8 engine, which drove a three-blade propeller.

Although it was outperformed by several other aircraft in the competition, the M 37's overall performance marked it as a popular choice for record flights. Particular among these traits was its low fuel consumption rate, good handling, and superb takeoff and landing characteristics.

The Bf 108A first flew in 1934, followed by the Bf 108B in 1935. The Bf 108B used the substantially larger, 12.67 litre displacement Argus As 10 air-cooled inverted V8 engine. The nickname Taifun (German for "typhoon") was given to her own aircraft by Elly Beinhorn, a well-known German pilot, and was generally adopted.[4]

Operational history[edit]

Soon after the first production aircraft began to roll off the assembly line in Augsburg, several Bf 108s had set endurance records.

The Bf 108 was adopted into Luftwaffe service during World War II, where it was primarily used as a personnel transport and liaison aircraft. The aircraft involved in the Mechelen Incident was a Bf 108.

Production of the Bf 108 was transferred to occupied France during World War II and production continued after the war as the Nord 1000 Pingouin.


Theo Osterkamp and his wife, Fel Gudrun, with a Messerschmitt Bf 108 (1938)
Bf 108A
Initial version designed in 1934 for use in Challenge 1934. Six were built with the Hirth HM 8U, one other initially had a 220 PS (217 hp, 162 kW) Argus As 17B inline engine and later a 160 PS (158 hp, 118 kW) Siemens-Halske Sh 14 radial.[4]
Bf 108B
Revised version, built from late 1935. The prototype had a Siemens-Halske Sh 14A radial, but production machines used the 240 PS (237 hp, 177 kW) Argus As 10C or the 270 PS (266 hp, 199 kW) Argus As 10E. A quadrant-shaped rather than rectangular rear window, tailwheel replacing skid, revision of shape of empennage and removal of tailplane upper bracing.[4]
Bf 108C
Proposed high-speed version, powered by a 400 PS (395 hp, 294 kW) Hirth HM 512 engine. Probably not built.[4]
Me 208
Improved and enlarged version with a retractable tricycle landing gear. Two prototypes were built by SNCAN (Nord) in France during the war. After 1945 Nord continued its production as the Nord Noralpha.
Nord 1000 Pingouin
Bf 108 built during and after the war by SNCAN in France; followed by the Nord 1001, that had only minor variations and the Nord 1002, which used a Renault engine.
Nord 1100 Noralpha
Bf 108 derivative built after the war by SNCAN in France with tricycle landing gear and a Renault engine.


Bf 108 B-1, Lufthansa's D-EBEI at Duxford 2009
Bf 108B Taifun, Messerschmitt-Stiftung
The Bf 108 as used by the Swiss Air Force during World War II. Aviation Museum / Flieger-Flab-Museum in Dübendorf, Switzerland.
 Independent State of Croatia
  • Armée de l'Air operated captured Bf 108s and postwar-built Nord 1000 aircraft.
 Nazi Germany
 Soviet Union
 United Kingdom
  • Royal Air Force
    RAF Aldon
    operated four Bf 108s, under the designation "Messerschmitt Aldon", which were impressed from private owners on the outbreak of the war. Reportedly they were the fastest light communications aircraft the RAF had, but they were also sometimes mistaken for Bf 109s although there is no record of any fatal encounters. Postwar, 15 more captured Bf 108s flew in RAF colours until the mid 1950s.[4]
 United States
  • United States Army Air Corps - in early 1939, a single Bf 108B was purchased for $14,378 and designated XC-44. It was used only by the US air attaché in Berlin. In November 1941, the aircraft was assessed as unserviceable. The airframe was seized by the Nazi government, following the commencement of hostilities, in December.
 Kingdom of Yugoslavia

Specifications (Bf 108B)[edit]

Data from Jane's all the World's Aircraft 1938,[5] Die Deutsche Luftrüstung 1933–1945 Vol.3 – Flugzeugtypen Henschel-Messerschmitt[6]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1 or 2
  • Capacity: 2 or 3 passengers
  • Length: 8.29 m (27 ft 2 in)
  • Wingspan: 10.5 m (34 ft 5 in)
  • Height: 2.3 m (7 ft 7 in)
  • Wing area: 16.4 m2 (177 sq ft)
  • Airfoil: root: NACA 2416; tip: NACA 2413[7]
  • Empty weight: 806 kg (1,777 lb)
  • Gross weight: 1,350 kg (2,976 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Argus As 10C V-8 inverted air-cooled piston engine, 174 kW (233 hp)
  • Propellers: 2-bladed variable-pitch propeller


  • Maximum speed: 305 km/h (190 mph, 165 kn)
  • Cruise speed: 260 km/h (160 mph, 140 kn)
  • Landing speed: 85 km/h (53 mph; 46 kn)
  • Range: 1,000 km (620 mi, 540 nmi) at 250 km/h (160 mph; 130 kn)
  • Service ceiling: 6,200 m (20,300 ft) (with 3 pax + 50 kg (110 lb) baggage)
  • Time to altitude: 1,000 m (3,300 ft) in 3 minutes 12 seconds
2,000 m (6,600 ft) in 7 minutes 30 seconds
3,000 m (9,800 ft) in 14 minutes
4,000 m (13,000 ft) in 22 minutes
5,000 m (16,000 ft) in 39 minutes
  • Wing loading: 82.3 kg/m2 (16.9 lb/sq ft)
  • Power/mass: 0.133 kW/kg (0.081 hp/lb)

See also[edit]

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related lists



  1. ^ Smith 1971, p. 142.
  2. ^ Schulz, R. and W. Pleines. "Technical Memorandums No. 760 - Technical Aspects of the 1934 International Touring Competition (Rundflug)." National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, December 1934. Retrieved: 13 March 2010.
  3. ^ Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun
  4. ^ a b c d e Smith 1971, pp. 36–37.
  5. ^ Grey, C.G.; Bridgman, Leonard, eds. (1938). Jane's all the World's Aircraft 1938. London: Sampson Low, Marston & company, ltd. p. 136c.
  6. ^ Nowarra, Heinz J. (1993). Die Deutsche Luftrüstung 1933–1945 Vol.3 – Flugzeugtypen Henschel-Messerschmitt (in German). Koblenz: Bernard & Graefe Verlag. pp. 187–189, 266–267. ISBN 978-3-7637-5467-0.
  7. ^ Lednicer, David. "The Incomplete Guide to Airfoil Usage". Retrieved 16 April 2019.


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  • Cross, Roy and Gerald Scarborough. Messerschmitt Bf 109 Versions B-E (Classic Aircraft No. 2, Their History and How to Model Them). London: Patrick Stevens, 1972. ISBN 0-85059-106-6.
  • Feist, Uwe. The Fighting Me 109. London: Arms and Armour Press, 1993. ISBN 1-85409-209-X.
  • Grey, C.G. "Messerschmitt Bf 108." Jane's All the World's Aircraft, 1938. London: David & Charles, 1972. ISBN 0-7153-5734-4.
  • Hitchcock, Thomas H. Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun (Monogram Close-Up 5). Acton, Massachusetts: Monogram Aviation Publications, 1979. ISBN 0-914144-05-7.
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  • Kulikov, Victor (April 2000). "Des occasions en or pour Staline, ou les avions allemands en URSS". Avions: Toute l'Aéronautique et son histoire (in French) (85): 44–49. ISSN 1243-8650.
  • Lucchini, Carlo (April 1999). "Le meeting saharien de 1938" [The 1938 Sahara Air Meeting]. Avions: Toute l'Aéronautique et son histoire (in French) (73): 53–57. ISSN 1243-8650.
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External links[edit]