The "Vergeltungswaffe 1" V-1 flying bomb was developed at Peenemünde Airfield by the German Luftwaffe during the Second World War. It was autopilot guided bomb with a pulse jet engine that was designed to drop after a fixed distance and explode. The engine design very simple : fuel is introduced behind the shutters in a chamber and ignited with a spark plug. The resulting explosion causes the shutters to close and the expanding gases are forced out the rear. As the expanding gases escape, the tuned exhaust tube eventually creates a negative pressure in the chamber. Fuel is again introduced into the chamber and the process is repeated, giving it a very distinctive WHOOM – WHOOM – WHOOM sound. The V-1 was fired from "ski" launch sites along the French (Pas-de-Calais) and Dutch coasts. The first V-1 was launched at London on 13 June 1944, one week after (and prompted by) the successful Allied landing in Europe. At its peak, more than one hundred V-1s a day were fired at southeast England over nine thousands in total. After D-day, V-1s were still fired from e.g. Antwerpen.
Designed by the Germans during World War II, this pilot-less aircraft carried nearly a ton of explosives and was used to bomb London and southeast England. Eight-thousand, six hundred V-1s were launched from the northern shores of occupied France over a period of two months in 1944. At a preset distance, the fuel was shut off and the V-1 dove into the ground. Many were destroyed by anti-aircraft fire and fast flying British Meteor jet aircraft, but more than 2000 fell on London. After the invasion of France, the Allies overran the launch sites and the V-1 did not continue to pose much of a threat, although some were still launched from He-111 bombers.
During initial testing, many V-1s crashed, and it was not known why the gyro-stabilizing system would not maintain controlled level flight. The decision was made to make a piloted version in an attempt to solve the problem. Legend has it that famous German female pilot Hanna Reitsch test flew the aircraft. When the speed increased to a certain point, it was found that the wooden wings were twisting beyond what the gyro could control. Because of her observations, the wings were stiffened and the problem was solved. Toward the end of the war, piloted suicide versions of this concept were considered.
The V-1 used a pulse jet engine for thrust, mounted above and at the rear of the main body. This very simple design incorporates moveable shutters in the front of the engine and a tuned exhaust tube in the rear. Fuel is introduced behind the shutters in a chamber and ignited with a spark plug. The resulting explosion causes the shutters to close and the expanding gases are forced out the rear. As the expanding gases escape, the tuned exhaust tube eventually creates a negative pressure in the chamber. Fuel is again introduced into the chamber and the process is repeated, giving it a very distinctive WHOOM – WHOOM – WHOOM sound. Once the engine was started, the air source was removed. When the engine was brought up to full speed thrust, the V-1 would be released and accelerate up a long launch ramp on rails that would allow it to gain enough speed to create the lift needed to continue its flight.- See more at: http://www.fantasyofflight.com/aircraft/wwii/fieseler-v-1-buzz-bomb.aspx#sthash.jvYuh1Yg.dpu
Here a V-1 from 1944 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 V-1 in various scales.