Dornier, also know from their flying boats like the Dornier Do 24, patented the idea of a push propeller on a plane in 1937. In 1939 they built the Göppingen Gö 9, an experimental plane that flew in 1940. This successful test led to the Do 335. Its first flight was on 26 October 1943. In 1944 and 1945 it was further developed and tested as fighter, night fighter, fighter-bomber and as reconnaissance aircraft. The Dornier factory Weingut II and the Heinkel Works at Orianienburg were chosen as fabrication plants. Mass production was no longer possible at the end of the war, only 37 Dornier Do 335 were build, as test or pre-production aircraft or as actual warbird. The long nose and high legged construction gave it the name Pfeil – Arrow for the single seater, the two seater had the name Ameisenbär or Ant-eater.
The two propellors placed inline gave the aircraft low air resistance in comparison to two engines placed underwing. The Dornier Do 335 was powered by two Daimler-Benz DB 603 V-12 engines who gave it a high speed, up to 730 – 775 km/h depending on the version of the airplane. With its top speed the Dornier Do 335 was the fastest in series produced propellor aircraft which saw action in World War Two. The Do 335 Pfeil had an average range of 1800 kilometers with drop tanks, distance changed during an economic flight (2060 km) or a flight at maximum speed (1400 km). It had one 30 mm MK 103 cannon gun firing through the propellor hub and two 20 mm Mg 151/20 cannons above the front engine. The Heavy Fighter / Destroyer version had two extra MK 103 cannons, one in each wing. It could carry 500 kilogram of bomb internally and two 250 kg bombs underwing or two underwing drop tanks with 300 liters of fuel.
It was large for a fighter, 13,85 meters long, 5,00 meters high and a span of 13,80 meters. It was about 7400 kilograms heavy, maximum takeoff weight was 9600 kilograms. The Dornier Do 335 had a ejection seat. If deployed the aft propellors would be blown off by a controlled detonation together with the upper rudder to keep the pilot safe while bailing out.
Rechlin Aviation Museum and Rechlin-Lärz test area.
The Dornier Do 335 was tested at Rechlin- Lärz airfield during the Second World War. Rechlin Lärz was an Erprobungstelle, a test and develop area, during the war. Jet and Rocket powered aircraft were developed and tested with their weaponry. Bombs and guns were tested nearby in the woods. Today only one original Dornier Do 335 survives, it can be seen in the United States. From 1998 work started on a full sized replica in Germany using original parts of the original Do 335 airplane like the bomb bay doors and fuel tanks. The landing gear is from a Messerschmitt Bf 110. Therefore it is not 100 % original but it is a full sized replica and it can be seen in Europe in the Rechlin Aviation Museum at the original test center and airfield.
Check out the website of the Rechlin Aviation Museum. Another small tip, we visited the museum to see the Dornier Do 335 and the Gotha aircraft. Even though the website mentioned the Gotha airplane would be on display it was removed weeks or months before our visit. The information on the website was deprecated. Therefore send an email if you want to avoid disappointments. In German the Museum is called: luftfahrttechnisches Museum Rechlin, if you like to look it up.
The Dornier Do 335 Movie
We made a short movie of the Dornier Do 335 Pfeil in the luftfahrttechnisches Museum Rechlin, the Aviation Museum Rechlin Germany.