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The NASM 262 after restoration rollout.  Credit:  Thomas H. Hitchcock

The National Air & Space Museum has perhaps the finest example of a fully-restored Me262. An A-1a/R1 model -- or R4M rocket equipped -- fighter variant, it carries an original German production werknummer of 500491.   Operationally, the plane was known to have seen combat against the Russians with IV/JG 7.  It was surrendered at Lechfeld just prior to VE Day . 

Karl Baur test flew this aircraft for some 20 minutes on the 12th of May; well before the arrival of Watson's team.  Staff Sergeant Eugene Freiburger of the 54th Air Disarmament Squadron named the plane Dennis, after his son.  These markings remained on the jet until it arrived in Melun, France, where Lieutenant Ken Holt re-christened it Ginny H

Of all of the Me 262s at Lechfeld, this aircraft has the most definitively known operational history of Luftwaffe service.  As stated on the Planes page, this machine also carried impressive victory markings when captured.  Given that it was received in a flyable state, this plane was not subjected to major rebuilds or component replacements during the operation overseas.

Following the flight out of Germany to Melun, France, the Whizzers assigned Ginny H an administrative control number of 888.  It was among the aircraft selected to participate in an aerial demonstration flight for General Carl Spaatz, and was later flown to port in Cherbourg in early July.  Once lashed to the deck of the H.M.S. Reaper, the plane was listed as number 29 on the shipping inventory.

888 arrived at Wright Field in August 1945, and was subsequently moved to Freeman Field, Indiana, where it remained until May 1946.  While at Freeman, it was again given a new identity, FE-111, and later T-2-111.  Additionally, a major modification took place at this time.

 

As a sister aircraft (#444) was being readied for a series of classified flight tests, it's reconnaissance-modified nose section was exchanged for 888s more streamlined fighter version.

Postwar photographs support the view that this was accomplished before the plane was moved to the 803rd Special Depot storage facility at Park Ridge, Illinois in July 1946, when the jet entered long-term storage. 

In 1950, it was moved again -- this time to the National Air Museum facility (now the Garber Facility) at Silver Hill, Maryland.  Finally, in 1978, the plane was brought out of storage and fully restored.

It was determined at this time that the modified nose section should be "corrected" back to the original A-1 fighter configuration to maintain authenticity. 

During this meticulous process, the original JG 7 Luftwaffe operational markings were carefully uncovered and annotated.  This color scheme was then exactingly reapplied, complete with the aforementioned pilot's victory markings (42 previous Russian aircraft and seven American planes).

Today the plane is on permanent display at the National Air & Space Museum on the Mall in Washington.  Appropriately, this superb example of the type is the prominent centerpiece of the Jet Gallery.

888 at a post war catured equipment display.  Credit: Webmaster's collection

888 in the states.  Credit: NASM

A view of 888 in Storage at Silver Hill, prior to restoration.  Credit: NASM

The NASM 262 as it appears today in the Jet Gallery.  Credit: NASM


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