Blohm & Voss BV 141
The Blohm & Voss BV 141 was a World War II German tactical reconnaissance aircraft. It is notable for its uncommon structural asymmetry. Although the Blohm & Voss BV 141 performed well, it was never ordered into full-scale production, for reasons that included the unavailability of the preferred engine and competition from another tactical reconnaissance aircraft, the Focke-Wulf Fw 189.
|BV 141B featuring its asymmetrical gondola and tailplane.|
|Role||Reconnaissance, light bomber|
|Manufacturer||Blohm & Voss|
|First flight||25 February 1938|
In 1937, the German Air Ministry – the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM) – issued a specification for a single-engine reconnaissance aircraft with optimal visual characteristics. The preferred contractor was Arado with the Ar 198, but the prototype proved unsuccessful. The eventual winner was the Focke-Wulf Fw 189 Uhu; even though its twin-boom design using two smaller engines did not match the requirement of a single engined aircraft. Blohm & Voss (Hamburger Flugzeugbau) although not invited to participate, pursued as a private venture something far more radical. The proposal of chief designer Dr. Richard Vogt was the uniquely asymmetric BV 141.
The Plexiglas-glazed crew gondola on the starboard side strongly resembled that found on the Fw 189, and housed the pilot, observer and rear gunner, while the fuselage on the port side led smoothly from the BMW 132N[a] radial engine to a tail unit.
In terms of thrust vs drag asymmetry, the countering of induced yaw was a more complicated matter. At low airspeed, it was calculated to be mostly alleviated because of a phenomenon known as P-factor, while at normal airspeed it proved to be easily controlled with trimming.
Three prototypes and an evaluation batch of five BV 141As were produced, backed personally by Ernst Udet, but the RLM decided on 4 April 1940 that they were underpowered, although it was also noted they otherwise exceeded the requirements. By the time a batch of 12 BV 141Bs were built with the more powerful BMW 801 engines, they were too late to make an impression, as RLM already decided to put the Fw 189 into production. Indeed, an urgent need for BMW 801 engines for use in the Fw 190 fighter aircraft reduced the chance of the BV 141B being produced in quantity.
Vogt came up with several other asymmetric designs, including the piston-jet P.194.01, but none of those were actually built.
Contrary to much that has been written,[b] all 20 BV 141Bs ordered were produced and delivered. There exists a complete record of BV 141 production with: either a German civil registration number or pre-military, four letter Stammkennzeichen factory radio code number.
- Ha 141-0 - D-ORJE; original designation of the first aircraft completed with the stepped cockpit nacelle. Became the BV 141 V2.
- BV 141 V1 - WNr 141-00-0171; D-OTTO then BL+AU, damaged
- BV 141 V2 - WNr 141-00-0172; D-ORJE then PC+BA; chronologically, the first one built and the only one known under old "Ha" designation as "Ha 141"
- BV 141 V3 - WNr 141-00-0359; D-OLGA then BL+AA
Pre-series BV 141 A-0Edit
- BV 141 A-01
- (V4); WNr 01010360; D-OLLE; damaged
- BV 141 A-02
- (V5); WNr 01010361; BL+AB
- BV 141 A-03
- (V6); WNr 01010362; BL+AC
- BV 141 A-04
- (V7); WNr 01010363; BL+AD
- BV 141 A-05
- (V8); WNr 01010364; BL+AE
Pre-series BV 141 B-0Edit
The first to have BMW 801 engine. About 2 m longer and 2 m wider than A-05.
- B-01 (V9) - WNr 0210001; NC+QZ; first flown 9 January 1941, had severe structural problem
- B-02 (V10) - WNr 0210002; NC+RA; first flown 1 June 1941
- B-03 (V11) - WNr 0210003; NC+RB
- B-04 (V12) - WNr 0210004; NC+RC
- B-05 (V13) - WNr 0210005; NC+RD
- B-06 (V14) - WNr 0210006; NC+RE
- B-07 (V15) - WNr 0210007; NC+RF
- B-08 (V16) - WNr 0210008; NC+RG
- B-09 (V17) - WNr 0210009; NC+RH
- B-10 (V18) - WNr 0210010; NC+RI
Series BV 141 B-1Edit
Specifications (BV 141 B-02 [V10])Edit
Data from
- Crew: 3
- Length: 13.95 m (45 ft 9 in)
- Wingspan: 17.45 m (57 ft 3 in)
- Height: 3.6 m (11 ft 10 in)
- Wing area: 52.9 m2 (569 sq ft)
- Empty weight: 4,700 kg (10,362 lb)
- Gross weight: 5,700 kg (12,566 lb)
- Max takeoff weight: 6,100 kg (13,448 lb)
- Powerplant: 1 × BMW 801A 14-cyl. air-cooled radial piston engine, 1,147 kW (1,538 hp) for take-off at sea level
- Maximum speed: 368 km/h (229 mph; 199 kn) at sea level; 438 km/h (272 mph) at 5,000 m (16,404 ft)
- Range: 1,900 km (1,181 mi; 1,026 nmi) maximum
- Service ceiling: 10,000 m (33,000 ft)
- Wing loading: 107.75 kg/m2 (22.07 lb/sq ft)
- Power/mass: 0.204 kW/kg (0.124 hp/lb)
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Green, William. Warplanes of the Third Reich (4th impression ed.). London: Macdonald and Jane's, 1979, pp. 81–86. ISBN 0-356-02382-6.
- Green, William (2010). Aircraft of the Third Reich. London: Aerospace. pp. 136–144. ISBN 978-1-900732-06-2.
- Rys, Marek (2004). Blohm und Voss BV 141. Nowa Technika Wojskowa (New Military Technology) (in Polish). Warsaw: Magnum-X. pp. 55–64. ISSN 1230-1655.
- Smith, J. Richard and Anthony Kay. German Aircraft of the Second World War. London: Putnam & Co, 1978, Third impression, pp. 66–71. ISBN 0-370-00024-2.
- Taylor, Michael. The World's Strangest Aircraft. London: Grange, 1999. ISBN 1-85627-869-7.
- Wood, Anthony and Bill Gunston. Hitler's Luftwaffe: A Pictorial History and Technical Encyclopedia of Hitler's Air Power in World War II. London: Salamander, 1977, p. 135. ISBN 0-86101-005-1.