Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun

Messerschmitt Bf-108B-1 Taifun HB-HEB A-201 Swiss Air Force colours

The German Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun , training and sports aircraft which would be used as the basis of the premiere German fighter plane of World War II, the Bf 109. In 1935, German aviatrix Elly Beinhorn established a name for herself and, quite literally, the Bf 108 when she flew a record setting endurance flight from Berlin to Constantinople and back (a distance of 2,230 miles) in one day. She christened the Bf 108A used in the flight “Taifun” (Typhoon), leading Messerschmitt to adopt the name for all subsequent production models of the aircraft.

Developing nation: Germany.
Bayerische Flugzeugwerke Messerschmitt/Willy Messerschmitt.
Number built: 885.
Type aircraft:
  Laison, trainer and sports aircraft.
First flight:
June 1934.
First delivery: 1935.
1945, Luftwaffe.
Variants: Nord 1000, Nord Noralpha

Messerschmitt refined its design for the M 35 2-seat aerobatic plane into the M 37 (later re-designated the Bf 108) specifically for competition in the 4th Challenge de Tourisme Internationale of 1934. The M 37 prototype flew first in spring of 1934. Still a two-seat aircraft, it was powered by a 250hp Hirth HM 8U inverted-V piston engine, which drove a 3-blade propeller.

The 2-seat aircraft was impressive enough to promote the design’s evolution into a four-seat touring aircraft that was also well-suited for military communication, liaison and ambulance roles. Other changes incorporated in the Bf 108B included the replacement of a tailskid with a tailwheel, and a different powerplant, the 240 hp Argus As 8C inverted-V piston engine, which drove a 2-blade propeller. Most of the 885 Bf 108 aircraft manufactured were of this version, which was built first by Messerschmitt and later by Societe Nationale de Constructions Aeronautiques du Nord, in France, during and after the war.

Specifications (Bf 108B)

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)

All pictures courtesy of Zijde Aviation Photo and Publishing, Rob Vogelaar