A couple of days ago we looked, logically enough, at the Messerschmitt Bf (or Me) 108.

As you can see in this picture of the Messerschmitt Stiftungs’s immaculate example it had a retractable undercarriage. Well and good, but...

The 108 could be and was usually flown with one pilot, but life was easier with two bodies in front. The second didn’t have to be a pilot. Why?

Well, after take off the pilot would naturally want raise the wheels. To do this he engaged the undercarriage retraction system, which was sitting beside him. Yes, Messerschmitt didn’t go as far as fitting hydraulics. Instead the front passenger was called upon to haul a lever through a 90deg arc 43 times. When the time came to come down again, the pilot again engaged the manual undercarriage system which this time had to turn the end of the undercarriage lever and then pump it another 43 times.


So there you have it. Flying and a workout at one and the same time.