V1 flying bomb autopilot pneumatic system

Saturday 7th January 2023 at 14:12

I made a short video demonstrating the control pneumatics of the autopilot of the V1 flying bomb. I am currently doing some work on the unit in the hope to get the autopilot system fully operational. 

One of the main challenges is to supply sufficient air. The V1 had two spherical air tanks of 75 litres each that were charged up to 160 bar. The tanks were thin walled steel reinforced with piano wire wound around it like a ball of wool making for an incredible light and compact air storage system. The air had to last for about 25 minutes with the larger part used by the autopilot which used about 900 litres/min. To supply this today would require an industrial size compressor system; the challenge is to make the auopilot work with a fraction of this air capacity.

One of the issues I found on my V1 autopilot was that the main gyroscope did not give a good output signal to the rudder servo. I found that the air system was inproperly adjusted but since it had all its original laquer sealing in place this is how it left the factory; I suspect some sabotage to ensure that the V1 would never reach its target.

The attached video shows some of the details of the pneumatic control system and explains how the gyroscope movements are transmitted to the rudder servo: https://youtu.be/YjMyhJu6epY