The Fw 190, one of Germany's best fighter airplanes of World War II, made its first flight on June 1, 1939. It appeared in action over northwestern France in September 1941 and rapidly proved its superiority over the Mark V Spitfire, Britain's best fighter of that time.
Most Fw 190s were the "A" series, powered by a BMW radial engine. Late in 1943, however, the more capable "D" series appeared in action against U.S. bombers, powered by the more powerful Jumo 213 inline, liquid-cooled engine. Because the larger engine lengthened its nose, a 20-inch section had to be added to the Fw 190D-9's fuselage just forward of the tail. During its lifetime, more than 20,000 Fw 190s of all types were built.
The Fw 190D-9 on display was assigned to the JG3 "Udet" Geschwader. One of the Luftwaffe's most famous fighter units, JG3 was named for Ernst Udet, Germany's leading ace to survive World War I. The airplane, captured and brought to the United States for testing at the end of WWII, is on loan from the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum.
TECHNICAL NOTES: Armament: Two 20mm MG 151 cannons in wings and two 13mm MG 131 machine guns in nose Engine: Junkers Jumo 213 of 2,240 hp with methanol-water injection Maximum speed: 426 mph Cruising speed: 280 mph Range: 520 miles Ceiling: 40,000 ft. Span: 34 ft. 5 1/3 in. Length: 33 ft. 5 1/4 in. Height: 11 ft. 1/4 in. Weight: 10,670 lbs. combat-loaded