The Gotha 242 Glider, larger than the DFS-230, is used for troop transport in training and for freight-carrying. Six of them were captured partially destroyed at Derna. The flying characteristics are said to be such that any pilot can handle one with ease, either towed or solo. Steep turns, nevertheless, are to be avoided, and acrobatics are forbidden. Recent photographic reconnaissance has identified two powered types, experimentally equipped, respectively, with twin air-cooled radial, and twin in-line, engines.
The Gotha 242 is a twin-boom monoplane, with fuselage of tubular metal construction, and wings, tail boom, and tail unit made of wood. Landing is effected on three skids or on wheels, the latter of which can be jettisoned.1 The central fuselage (37 feet long) is detachable, and is also hinged at the top, forward of the trailing edge of the wing, on which hinge the rear portion lifts upwards, making an opening 7 feet by 6 feet for loading by means of ramps which are carried in the aircraft.
The Gotha 242 has a span of 79 feet and a length of 52½ feet.
c. Crew and Armament
This glider carries two pilots. Control is dual, and the first pilot's seat is fully armored to a thickness of from one-tenth to three-tenths of an inch. Four light machine guns are fitted, two firing forward from the nose, and two firing aft; four more may be fitted in lateral positions.
Instruments are more numerous than in the DFS-230 and include a telephone for communication with the towing aircraft, activated, with the remainder of the electrical installation, by a 24-volt storage battery. A landing light is fitted underneath the port wing. Two first-aid kits are carried, and a ballast container capable of holding up to 925 pounds.2
e. Seating Arrangements
When fitted with seats, the Gotha 242 holds 21 fully equipped men in addition to the 2 pilots.
f. Weight and Load Statistics
The empty weight of this glider, with fixed equipment, is 7,168 pounds. The gross weight is 12,750 pounds, leaving a useful load of 5,582 pounds. Freight storage space is 20 by 8 by 6½ feet.
The Gotha 242 is normally towed by one Ju-52, by means of a steel cable 80 to 300 yards long. An arrester gear may be fitted to shorten the landing run.
h. Table of Glider Speeds
|Maximum towing speed||149 mph|
|Maximum gliding speed||180 mph|
|Minimum gliding speed (when landing fully loaded)||87 mph|
2 Ballast is used only when the glider is empty.