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Messerschmitt XC-44

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In the spring of 1939 funds were allotted to the U.S. Military Attaché for Air in Berlin, Germany for the local purchase of an airplane for liaison and staff flying. The aircraft purchased was a Messerschmitt Bf 108B. The plane was a standard production version costing $14,378 (contract W 535 AC). Once delivered, the plane was designated XC-44 and assigned the serial number 39-718. The aircraft was delivered in March 1939, and accumulated 76 flying hours during the next six months. The XC-44 was surveyed during the fall of 1941, condemned on Nov. 15, and confiscated by the Nazi Government in December. 

The Bf 108 was designed in 1934 by Professor Willy Messerschmitt and manufactured by the Bayerishe Flugzeugwerke A.G. Augsburg (later Messerschmitt A.G.) beginning in 1935. The aircraft carried the company designation of M-37 until it received the RLM designation of 108. 

The Bf 108 "Taifun" was entered in many air races during the late 1930s, winning several, including the International Air Meets at Hoggar in January 1938, the Konigin-Astrid-Rennen, Belgium, in July 1938 and Dinard in August 1938. 

After the occupation of France, the Me 108 design was manufactured by a Farman subsidiary at Orley Field near Paris and was called the Nord 1000. After the war, the T-2 Intelligence Division, Wright Field, Ohio was sent to Germany to collect German aircraft, material and document. At least one example of the "Taifun" was bought back to Wright Field for evaluation. This plane, pictured above, was a Nord 1000 model built at the French factory. 

Type Number built/
XC-44 1 Bf 108B

Engine: Argus As 10c of 240 hp
Maximum speed: 186 mph
Cruising speed: 161 mph
Range: 600 miles
Service ceiling: 16,500 ft. 
Span: 34 ft. 5 in.
Length: 27 ft. 2 in.
Height: 7 ft. 6 in.
Weight: 3,087 lbs. loaded weight
Crew: One (pilot)
Passenger capacity: Three
Serial number: 39-718 

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