Weight & dimensions
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The Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet is a German interceptor aircraft designed for point-defence. It is the only operational rocket-powered fighter aircraft in history and the first piloted aircraft of any type to exceed 1,000km/h (621mph) in level flight. Designed by Alexander Lippisch, its performance and aspects of its design were unprecedented. In early July 1944, German test pilot Heini Dittmar reached 1,130km/h (700mph), an unofficial flight airspeed record unmatched by turbojet-powered aircraft for almost a decade.
More than 300 Komets were built, but the aircraft proved lackluster in its dedicated role as an interceptor, having destroyed between nine and 18 Allied aircraft against 10 losses. Aside from combat losses, many pilots were killed during testing and training, at least in part because of the highly volatile and corrosive nature of the rocket propellant used in later models. This includes pilot Oberleutnant Josef Pöhs, who was killed in 1943 by exposure to T-Stoff and injuries sustained during a failed takeoff that ruptured a fuel line.