List of Bf 108 Taifun

List of Trainers early models

List of Bf 109 early models


Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun

The Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun was a German single-engine sports and touring aircraft developed by Bayerische Flugzeugwerke (Bavarian Aircraft Works). The Bf 108 was of all-metal construction.

  • Role: Communications aircraft
  • Manufacturer: Bayerische Flugzeugwerke
  • Designer: Willy Messerschmitt
  • First flight: 1934 Introduction: 1935 Retired: 1945
  • Primary user: Luftwaffe; Armée de l'Air; Manchukuo National Airways
  • Variants Produced: Nord 1000; Nord Noralpha
  • Number built: 885[1]

Design and development

Originally designated the M 37, the aircraft was designed as a four-seat sports/recreation aircraft for competition in the 4th Challenge de Tourisme Internationale (1934).[2][3] The M 37 prototype flew first in spring 1934 powered by a 250 PS (247 hp, 184 kW) Hirth HM 8U inverted-V engine, which drove a three-blade propeller.

Although it was outperformed by several other aircraft in the competition, the M 37's overall performance marked it as a popular choice for record flights. Particular among these traits was its extremely low fuel consumption rate, good handling, and superb takeoff and landing characteristics. One of the first major changes made to the production variants was to adapt the fuselage for a four-seat configuration.

The Bf 108A first flew in 1934, followed by the Bf 108B in 1935. The Bf 108B used the Argus As 10 air-cooled inverted V8 engine. The nickname Taifun (German for 'typhoon') was given to her own aircraft by Elly Beinhorn, a well known German pilot, and was generally adopted.[4]

The BWF Company (latter Messerschmitt A.G.) designed the Messerschmitt Bf-108 Taifun in 1934. The original design was for a light tourist double seater, developed for the German team taking part in the 1934 international air race Challenge. Even though the Challenge wasn't a great success for the Bf-108 as the best German pilot Theo Osterkamp only came in fifth, the RLM still ordered 32 Bf-108s.

The production of the improved version, the Bf-108B, was set-up in November 1935. The B version was redesigned to be a four-seater with a new Argus As 10C engine. The Bf-108B was a very modern light aircraft with an all-metal airframe, retractable undercarriage, adjustable propeller, and with excellent flight characteristics. The Bf-108 took part in many air races and record flights and the first foreign pilot who tested the Bf-108 was Charles Lindberg. He said that it was one of the world's best aircraft in its class.

The military version of the Taifun was the Bf-108B-2 and was acquired by the Luftwaffe in 1939. It was widely employed during the war years by all operational Luftwaffe units as a light liaison aircraft. In 1941 the new version, the Bf-108D, replaced the B version on the production line. An Argus As 10R engine powered the D version and included the new Argus automatically adjustable propeller and improved fuel assembly. The production was transferred to France in 1942, where 170 Bf-108D were completed before the liberation of France in 1944. French production continued after the war where another 115 aircraft under the name of "Nord 1000" were manufactured.

In total 626 military Taifuns, versions B-2 and D-1, were produced except at least 180 civilian or export version Bf-108 B-0 and B-1. The Luftwaffe employed most of them, but many other air forces used this fine and popular aircraft. The Hungarian AF had 8 Taifuns, both the Italians and Rumanians had 3, the USSR bought two and Switzerland and Yugoslavia had 12 each. One aircraft was used in Chile, one or two in Japan and one was in Australia. The Bulgarian AF had 6 and at least one was in Spain. One Bf-108B-1, coded XC44, was operated by the US embassy in Berlin. Two Bf-108B-1s were flown by the German embassy in London but the RAF confiscated these two aircraft in 1939.After the war, one Bf-108B-2 was flown in Czechoslovakia, two in Poland, one in Denmark and one in Sweden. Some 115 Bf-108Ds ( Nord 1000) were used by the French AF and Navy until the late 50's. Many of the surviving Taifuns were flown a long time after the war, and some of them are still in airworthy condition today.

Operational history

Soon after the first production aircraft began to roll off the assembly line in Augsburg, several Bf 108s had set endurance records.

The Bf 108 was adopted into Luftwaffe service during World War II, where it was primarily used as a personnel transport and liaison aircraft. The aircraft involved in the Mechelen Incident was a Bf 108.

A famous raid using a Bf 108 B-2 Trop and a Heinkel He 111 H-16 medium bomber was achieved in North Africa on 21st January 1942 known as the Sonderkommando Blaich raid.

Production of the Bf 108 was transferred to occupied France during World War II and production continued after the war as the Nord 1000 Pingouin.


  • M 37/Bf 108A
    Initial version designed in 1934 for use in Challenge 1934. Six were built with the Hirth HM 8U, one other initially had a 220 PS (217 hp, 162 kW)Argus As17B inline engine and later a 160 PS (158 hp, 118 kW) Siemens Sh14A radial.[4]
  • Bf 108B
    Revised version, built from late 1935. Prototype had a Siemens Sh14A radial, but production machines used the 240 PS (237 hp, 177 kW) Argus 10C or the 270 PS (266 hp, 199 kW) Argus 10E. Quadrant shaped rather than rectangular rear window, tailwheel replacing skid, revision of shape of empennnage and removal of tailplane upper bracing.[4]
  • Bf 108C
    Proposed high-speed version, powered by a 400 PS (395 hp, 294 kW) Hirth HM 512 engine. Probably not built.[4]
  • Me 208
    Improved and enlarged version with a retractable tricycle landing gear. Two prototypes were built by SNCAN (Nord) in France during the war. After 1945 Nord continued its production as the Nord Noralpha. A Nord Noralpha is on display at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum in Titusville, Florida, United States which has been painted to represent an Me 208.[5]
  • Nord 1000 Pingouin
    Bf 108 built during and after the war by SNCAN in France; followed by the Nord 1001, that had only minor variations and the Nord 1002 which used a Renault engine.


  • Brazil
  • Bulgaria
    Bulgarian Air Force Six aircraft purchased, used mainly for training.
  • China
    Chinese Nationalist Air Force
  • Independent State of Croatia
    Air Force of the Independent State of Croatia
  • Czechoslovakia
    Czechoslovak Air Force operated this type post war under designation K-70.
  • France
    Armée de l'Air operated captured Bf 108s and postwar built Nord 1000 aircraft.
  • Nazi Germany
  • Hungary
    Royal Hungarian Air Force operated seven Bf 108s from 1937 to 1945
  • Italy
    Regia Aeronautica
  • Japan
    Imperial Japanese Army Air Service
  • Manchukuo
    Manchukuo National Airways
  • Norway
    Royal Norwegian Air Force (Postwar)
  • Poland
    Polish Air Force operated a few captured Bf 108s postwar.
  • Romania
    Royal Romanian Air Force
  • Spain
    Spanish Air Force
  • Switzerland
    Swiss Air Force
  • Soviet Union
    Soviet Air Force operated several captured Bf 108s.
  • United Kingdom
    Royal Air Force; RAF Aldon
    impressed four Bf 108s on the outbreak of World War II and put into service, who designated them "Messerschmitt Aldon". It was the fastest light communications aircraft the RAF had then, but they were often mistaken for Bf 109s. Post-war, 15 more captured Bf 108s flew in RAF colours.[4]
  • United States
    United States Army Air Corps - A single Bf 108B was purchased by the U.S. Military Attaché for Air in the spring of 1939 for $14,378 and designated XC-44. It was repossessed by the Nazi government in December 1941 (after having been condemned in November).
  • Kingdom of Yugoslavia
    Yugoslav Royal Air Force

Specifications - Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun

Data from Jane's AWA 1938[6][6]

General characteristics

Crew: 1
Length: 8.3 m (27 ft 2 in)
Wingspan: 10.5 m (34 ft 5 in)
Height: 2.3 m (7 ft 6 in)
Wing area: 16 m² (172 ft²)
Empty weight: 806 kg (1,775 lb)
Loaded weight: 1,350 kg (2,976 lb)
Powerplant: 1 × Argus As 10C air-cooled inverted V-8, 240 PS (174 kW)


Maximum speed: 305 km/h (190 mph)
Range: 1,000 km (620 mi)
Service ceiling: 6,200 m (20,300 ft) with 4 people and baggage
Rate of climb: 5.21 m/s (1,194 ft/m) to 1,000 m (3,048 ft)
Wing loading: 83.4 kg/m² (17.1 lb/ft²)
Power/mass: 0.133 kW/kg (0.081 hp/lb)


Guns: 16× 0.303 inch (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns, 2× Browning 0.5 inch (12.7 mm) machine gun
Bombs: various defensive and offensive munitions, including bombs, mines and depth charges carried internally and, some, winched out beneath the wings. Manually launched flares, sea markers and smoke-floats.

 Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun

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 Bad Aibling, Germany Map


    Messerschmitt Bf 108 Citations: +

  1. Smith 1971, p. 142.
  2. Schulz, R. and W. Pleines. "Technical Memorandums No. 760 - Technical Aspects of the 1934 International Touring Competition (Rundflug)." National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, December 1934. Retrieved: 13 March 2010.
  3. Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun
  4. Smith 1971, pp. 36–37.
  5. "Airplane Gallery: Bf 108." Valiant Air Command. Retrieved: 12 November 2012.
  6. Grey 1972, pp. 136c–137c.

    Messerschmitt Bf 109 operational history Bibliography: +

  • Craig, James F. The Messerschmitt Bf.109. New York: Arco Publishing Company, 1968.
  • Cross, Roy and Gerald Scarborough. Messerschmitt Bf 109 Versions B-E (Classic Aircraft No. 2, Their History and How to Model Them). London: Patrick Stevens, 1972. ISBN 0-85059-106-6.
  • Feist, Uwe. The Fighting Me 109. London: Arms and Armour Press, 1993. ISBN 1-85409-209-X.
  • Grey, C.G. "Messerschmitt Bf 108." Jane's All the World's Aircraft, 1938. London: David & Charles, 1972. ISBN 0-7153-5734-4.
  • Hitchcock, Thomas H. Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun (Monogram Close-Up 5). Acton, Massachusetts: Monogram Aviation Publications, 1979. ISBN 0-914144-05-7.
  • Smith, J. Richard. Messerschmitt: An Aircraft Album. London: Ian Allan, 1971. ISBN 978-0-7110-0224-1.

    Web References: +

  • Photographic Site
  • Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Joe Rimensberger photo:
  • Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

This webpage was updated 28th Feb 2021