The first rule of all air combat is to see the opponent first. Like the hunter who stalks his prey and maneuvers himself unnoticed into the most favourable position for the kill, the fighter in the opening of a dogfight must detect the opponent as early as possible in order to attain a superior position for the attack.
I would like to mention that I have flown the 262 first in May ‘43. At this time, the aircraft was completely secret. I first knew of the existence of this aircraft only early in ‘42 - even in my position. This aircraft didn’t have any priority in design or production.
Their element is to attack, to track, to hunt, and to destroy the enemy. Only in this way can the eager and skillful fighter pilot display his ability. Tie him to a narrow and confined task, rob him of his initiative, and you take away from him the best and most valuable qualities he posses: aggressive spirit, joy of action, and the passion of the hunter.
For the first time I was flying by jet propulsion. No engine vibrations. No torque and no lashing sound of the propeller. Accompanied by a whistling sound, my jet shot through the air. Later when asked what it felt like, I said, "It felt as though angels were pushing".
It is true to say that the first kill can influence the whole future career of a fighter pilot. Many to whom the first victory over the opponent has been long denied either by unfortunate circumstances or by bad luck can suffer from frustration or develop complexes they may never rid themselves of again.
I would like to mention that I have flown the 262 first in May ’43. At this time, the aircraft was completely secret. I first knew of the existence of this aircraft only early in ’42 – even in my position. This aircraft didn’t have any priority in design or production.