Messerschmitt Bf 108 ‘Taifun’

The Bf 108 is perhaps the best example of a Civilian Aircraft which Germany produced to hone highly advanced technology they later adapted for the nation’s combat types in the late 1930s.

While the Bf 109 was considered a revolutionary fighter when it entered service during February 1937, the truth of the matter is that Germany had already tested and perfected many of the type’s cutting edge technologies on an earlier groundbreaking platform. The Bf 108 was a 4-seat tourer which incorporated a half-shell monocoque fuselage, full-span wing control surfaces, leading edge slats, and other features which later defined Germany’s most infamous war-time fighter.

The Bf 108 performed well in competitions and demonstrations, becoming a fast-favorite across Europe. In 1935, a German woman named Elly Beinhorn flew a circular trip from Berlin, Germany to Istanbul, Turkey and back, a total of 2,230 miles in a single day. She not only established a name for herself, but also bestowed the aircraft its nickname Taifun (Typhoon).

The Bf 108 proved forgiving to fly, while being reliable and easily maintained, so it is no surprise that it found success in both civilian and military service. With the benefit of hindsight, it seems shocking that the Taifun’s capabilities did not alarm more people outside Germany than they did. In the pre-war years, of course, very few wished to contemplate the potential threat which Germany once again posed.

In 1942, wartime demands for frontline combat aircraft meant that Bf 108 production was moved to recently-conquered France, where Société Nationale de Constructions Aéronautique du Nord (SNCAN) continued to work on the type. Soon after the Allies liberated France during the summer of 1944, SNCAN decided to continue production of the type, establishing a foothold in the post-war economy. With the supply of German engines and partially manufactured or rebuilt airframes exhausted, SNCAN moved on to ground-up construction of the type, first as the Nord 1001 Pingouin I and later as the Nord 1002 Pingouin II, which featured the 240 hp Renault 6Q-10 inverted 6-cylinder engine. The Museum’s example is a Pingouin II, displayed in the Cottbus hangar pending restoration work to refit the aircraft with an original German engine.

Did You know?

One Bf 108 (coded KG+EM) attached to the Sonderkommando Blaich was used to counter the operations of the British Long Range Desert Group. It participated in a bombing raid which attacked Free-French positions in Chad (a round trip of over 1,550 miles).


  • Number Built:  1,135+ total (286 Nord 1000 series)
  • Year Produced:  1945
  • Serial Number:   258
  • Crew: (1) Pilot
  • Current Pilots: TBD


  • Length:  27 ft. 2 in.
  • Wingspan:  34 ft. 10 in.
  • Empty Weight:  1,941 lbs.
  • Loaded Weight:  2,987 lbs.
  • Engine: 1x Renault 6Q-10  inverted inline 6-cylinder air-cooled piston engine
  • Engine Power:  240 hp


  • Cruising Speed:  160 mph
  • Max Speed: 185 mph 
  • Range:  620 miles
  • Ceiling: 19,600 ft
  • Rate of Climb:  750 ft./min. initial


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