Blohm und Voss BV 141

During the Second World War the German aviation industry developed several innovative designs.  One of the more unusual aircraft was the asymmetric Blohm und Voss BV 141.  This project was spearheaded by Dr.Ing. Richard Vogt as a private venture by Hamburger Flugzeugbau to meet an RLM requirement for an observation aircraft.
This is the BV 141 V1 prototype in civilian registration D-OTTO which first flew in October 1938.  This was actually the second 141 produced, the privately funded Ha 141-0 was redesignated as BV 141 V2 (registration D-ORGE) for budgetary reasons.
Dr. Vogt selected the asymmetric configuration in an effort to maximize the fields of view for the crew.  This is the pilot’s position with its extensive wrap-around glazing.
In fact almost the entire surface of the nacelle housing the three man crew was covered in transparencies.  The crew entered from the top of the nacelle, note the configuration of the boarding ladder.
While requiring care during the design process, there is no inherent reason why an asymmetric design cannot function efficiently as long as the aerodynamic forces and weight distribution are balanced.
Including the three developmental aircraft, Blohm und Voss produced a total of twenty eight BV 141s. The BV 141 never entered full production, but it did see service on the Eastern Front for operational trials.
The wide stance of the undercarriage is apparent in this view.  This enhances stability on the ground, an important consideration when operating from unprepared fields.  This is a BV 141A-0 developmental aircraft fitted with a BMW Bramo 323 radial engine and symmetrical horizontal tailplane.
This is a BV 141 B-0, powered by a BMW 801 radial engine and offset tail.  The underside of the port wing shows signs of repainting.  All the kits currently available represent B models.  Hobby Boss has recently released a kit in 1/48 scale, while 1/72 scale modelers have the Airfix kit dating back to 1971.
In the end, the more conventional Fw 189 twin-boom observation aircraft entered service for the reconnaissance role, favored for its use of two Argus 410 engines which provided redundancy and were less in demand than the BMW 801.  Interestingly, both designs featured crew nacelles which were quite similar.