The Bachem Ba 349 Natter was a World War II German point-defence rocket powered interceptor. It was a sort of manned surface-to-air missile. After vertical take-off, which eliminated the need for airfields, the majority of the flight to the Allied bombers was to be controlled by an autopilot. The primary mission of the relatively untrained pilot, perhaps better called a gunner, was to aim the aircraft at its target bomber and fire its armament of rockets. The pilot and the fuselage containing the rocket motor would then land under separate parachutes, while the nose section was disposable. The only manned vertical take-off flight on 1 March 1945 ended in the death of the test pilot Lothar Sieber.
Here a full scale replica is seen located at the "Fantasy of Flight" museum in Kissimmee Florida USA.
(c) Photographed by Cees Hendriks, 2012
Several plastic scale models exist of the Natter