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Blohm und Voss BV 238

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Blohm & Voss BV 238
A BV 238 shortly after takeoff.
Type Flying boat
Manufacturer Blohm & Voss
Maiden flight April 1944
Status Destroyed
Primary user Nazi Germany
Number built 1 (And 2 incomplete prototypes)

The Blohm & Voss BV 238 was a flying boat used in World War II. It was the heaviest aircraft ever flown when it first flew in 1944, and physically was the largest aircraft produced by any of the Axis powers in World War II. The BV 238 V1 prototype first flew on March 11, 1944 after a first jump on March 10th, 1944. Six 1750 hp (1.287 MW) Daimler-Benz DB 603 V12 engines were used in total, arranged in three forward facing integrated engine nacelles in a row on each wing.

The sole completed BV 238 was strafed and sunk while docked on Schaal Lake in September, 1944 by three P-51 Mustangs of the 361st Fighter Group. Named "Detroit Miss", the lead Mustang was piloted by WWII ace Lt. Urban "Ben" Drew, and another was piloted by William D. Rogers. This represents the largest single aircraft to be destroyed during the war.

Drew was told after the raid that he had destroyed a BV 222 Wiking (another large flying boat). He continued to believe this was the case until he was contacted by the BBC in 1974 for a documentary, and told that their research had determined that the aircraft he destroyed was actually the BV 238, undergoing flight tests at the seaplane base at Schaal Lake.

Production of two other prototypes was begun but neither were finished. A large quarter-scale model of the BV 238 was made during the plane's development for testing. Known as the FGP 227, it forced landed during the first flight and did not provide any data to the program.

Specifications (BV 238)

General characteristics

  • Crew: 12
  • Length: 43.36 m (142 ft 3 in)
  • Wingspan: 60.17 m (197 ft 5 in)
  • Height: 12.80 m (42 ft)
  • Wing area: 362 m² (3,900 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 54,700 kg (120,593 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 100,000 kg (220,460 lb)
  • Powerplant: 6× Daimler-Benz DB 603G Inline Piston , 1417 kW per Engine (1900 hp per Engine) each
  • * V1 Span only 57.75 m (189 ft 5.6 in)


  • Maximum speed: 425 km/h (264 mph)
  • Cruise speed: 355 km/h (192 knots, 220.6 mph)
  • Range: 7,200 km (3,886 nm, 4474 mi)
  • Service ceiling: 7,300 m (23,950 ft)
  • Wing loading: 261 kg/m² (53.5 lb/ft²)
  • Landing speed: 143 km/h (88.9 mph, 77 knots)
  • Performance data from engineering BV 238 V1 testing.

See also


  • Winchester, Jim (2005). The World's Worst Aircraft. New York: Amber Books. ISBN 0-7607-8714-X. 
  • Warbird Resource Group

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Blohm und Voss BV 238".