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Dornier Do-335 Pfeil (Arrow)

25 February 2011

Dornier Do-335 Pfeil (Arrow)

The Pfeil (meaning “arrow” in German) is one of Dornier’s graceful and aeronautically successful designs. Two engines arranged in-line made for the less parasitic drag than the usual twin engine pairing of one each per wing—and it was fast. The Do 335 flew at a top speed of 474 mph (846kph), much faster than Allied fighters in operation at the time, and carried a potent armament (1 x 30mm cannon and 2 x 15mm machine guns) for opposing the Allied heavy bombers then roaming in massive formations over the Axis controlled territory of Europe during WW II. Dornier was no stranger to tandem engine configurations, often a characteristic of his seaplane designs.

The Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center has the only known Pfeil and it has been restored to a just out of the factory condition. The Dornier company took care to protect the pilot by providing him with an ejection seat—of  the major forces in WW II it was the Luftwaffe which had operational aircraft equipped with ejection seats. Upon ejection the pilot would also activate a mechanism that would explosively separate the rear propeller blades as well as the dorsal fin. Similarly, the ventral fin could be explosively removed in the event of a gear up landing. Quite a surprise occurred when the Smithsonian restorers discovered the live charges while working on the D0 335!

Fortunately the world has one on display and here are photographs of this exquisite aircraft:

Dornier Do 335 Pfeil—photo by Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

Front engine and landing gear of the Pfeil—photo by Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

The Do 335 was heavy, strong and fast—photo by Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

Rear aspect of the Pfiel showing the rear engine—photo by Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

The cruciform tail and rear propeller of the Do 335 (the propeller blades and dorsal fin could be explosively detached during an ejection, the ventral fin could be similarly detached for a gear up landing)—photo by Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

The Do 335 cockpit, meant for interception not dog fighting, and equipped with an ejection seat—photo by Joseph May:Travel fir Aircraft

The Pfeil was not  built in large numbers—37 were completed and 85 were under construction at the war’s end. Information for this post came from the NASM’s description of their D0 335.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Stephen permalink
    14 March 2012 22:16

    HistoricAviation.com has a diecast model of this amazing aircraft, also a model kit available. I just ordered the diecast, and now I’m looking for the book “Donier Do335 : An Illustrated History” … hopefully at my local Library.

  2. dobro permalink
    21 March 2017 11:27

    PFEIL not PFIEL

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      21 March 2017 12:52

      Right you are. The corrections have been made.

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