Heinkel He 178

Heinkel He 178

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Heinkel He 178

On 27 August 1939 the Heinkel He 178 became the first aircraft to take to the skies powered entirely by a turbojet engine, twenty months before the first flight by a British jet aircraft.

The engine used to power the He 178 was designed by Dr Hans Joachim Pahst von Ohain of Göttingen University. In March 1936 he and his assistance were hired by Ernst Heinkel, and began work at Heinkel's Marienche airfield. Their first engine, the HeS 1, was ready for bench tests in September 1937, and produced a thrust of 550lb (250kg), using hydrogen as fuel. The HeS 2 probably never progressed beyond the design stage, but by March 1938 the petrol-fuelled HeS 3 was ready for bench-tests, and produced 1,100lb (500kg) of controllable thrust.

The first flight tests of the HeS 3 were made by suspending it below the fuselage of a Heinkel He 118. These continued until the engine burnt out, and the knowledge gained was used to produce the HeS 3b.

Von Ohain continued to design new jet engines, and by the end of the war he had produced the He S11A, which by early 1945 was being manufactured for use in the Arado Ar 234, Messerschmitt Me 262 and Heinkel He 162.

While the HeS 3 was being tested under the He 118 the airframe for the He 178 itself was under development. The result was a shoulder-wing monoplane, with a duralumin monocoque fuselage with a circular cross-section. The air intake was in the nose, the engine was mounted towards the centre of the aircraft, just behind the fuel tank, and the thrust produced was directed down a long tailpipe that emerged at the rear of the fuselage.

The He 178 first took to the air on 24 August 1939, when it left the runway for a short time, but its first proper maiden flight came on 27 August 1939. This flight was only a partial success, as the engine was badly damaged by a bird strike soon after take-off, but the test pilot, Erich Warsitz, still had time to make a circuit of the airfield and land safely without power.

The second test flight didn't come until 1 November 1939. The engine had been modified to produce the HeS 6, which produced 1,300lb of thrust, giving the aircraft a top speed of 373mph. This second flight was observed by a number of senior figures in the Luftwaffe and German Air Ministry, including Udet, Milch and Lucht, but despite the aircraft's obvious high speed there was very little official interest until the end of the year. The German Air Ministry had its own jet engine development section, and wasn't interested in private developments, at least until the then head of the department moved on.

His successor was more encouraging, but even then work on the single engined He 178 soon came to a halt. Heinkel produced a design for the V2, which would have had a retractable undercarriage and new wings, but this aircraft probably never flew. Instead work moved onto twin engined aircraft, with the Heinkel He 280 and Messerschmitt Me 262.

The first flight of the He 178 came almost exactly one year ahead of that of the second jet aircraft, the Caproni-Campini C.C.2, and twenty months ahead of that of the second turbojet aircraft, the Gloster E.28/29, which took to the air on 15 May 1941. Fortunately the Germans failed to take advantage of this lead, focusing instead on short-term projects and the production of existing types.

Engine: Heinkel HeS 3 on maiden flight, HeS 6
Power: 1,100lb then 1,300lb
Crew: 1
Wing span: 23ft 3 ½ in
Length: 24ft 6 ½ in
Height: 6ft 10 5/8 in
Empty weight: 3,565lb
Loaded weight: 4,396lb
Max Speed: 373 mph with HeS 6
Cruising Speed: 360mph at sea level

27 August 1939

Illustration (or retouched photograph) of Heinkel He 178 V1 in flight with landing gear extended. Erich Karl Warsitz, 1942

27 August 1939: Flugkapitän Erich Karl Warsitz, a Luftwaffe pilot assigned to the Ministry of Aviation (Reichsluftfahrtministerium) as a test pilot, made the first flight of the Heinkel He 178 V1, a proof-of-concept prototype jet-propelled airplane.

Heinkel Flugzeugwerke had built a small, single-seat, single-engine high-wing monoplane with retractable landing gear. The He 178 had the air intake at the nose and the engine exhaust out the tail, a configuration that would become the standard layout for most single-engine jet aircraft in the future. The airplane was constructed of wood and aluminum.

The He 178 V1 was 7.48 meters (24.54 feet) long, with a wingspan of 7.20 meters (23.62 feet) and height of 2.10 meters (6.89 feet). The wing area was 7.90 square meters (85.03 square feet). The prototype had an empty weight of 1,620 kilograms (3,572 pounds) and its gross weight was 1,998 kilograms (4,406 pounds).

Illustration of Heinkel He 178 V1 in flight with landing gear retracted. Hans J. P. von Ohain

The airplane was powered by a Heinkel Strahltriebwerk HeS 3B turbojet engine, which had been designed by Hans Joachim Pabst von Ohain. The HeS 3B used a single-stage axial-flow inducer, single-stage centrifugal-flow compressor, reverse-flow combustor cans, and a single-stage radial-inflow turbine. The engine produced 1,102 pounds of thrust (4.902 kilonewtons) at 11,600 r.p.m., burning Diesel fuel. The engine’s maximum speed was 13,000 r.p.m. The HeS 3B was 1.480 meters (4.856 feet) long , 0.930 meters (3.051 feet) in diameter and weighed 360 kilograms (794 pounds).

Heinkel Strahltriebwerk HeS 3B engine, cutaway example. (Deutsches Museum)

The He 178 V1 was designed for a cruise speed of 580 kilometers per hour (360 miles per hour) and maximum speed of 700 kilometers per hour (435 miles per hour). During flight testing, the highest speed reached was 632 kilometers per hour (393 miles per hour). Its estimated range was 200 kilometers (124 miles).

Captain Warsitz made two short circuits of the airfield then came in for a landing. This was the very first flight of an aircraft powered only by a jet engine.

(Left to right) Erich Karl Warsitz, Ernst Heinrich Heinkel, and Hans Joachim Pabst von Ohain, at dinner party celebrating the first flight of the Heinkel He 178. (NASM)

The He 178 was placed in the Deutsches Technikmuseum in Berlin, Germany. It was destroyed during a bombing raid in 1943.

Illustration of a Heinkel He 178, front view, high oblique. This may be the second prototype, V2. Illustration showing left profile of the Heinkel He 178 V1 Illustration showing left front quarter of the Heinkel He 178 V1. Note the open cockpit. Heinkel He 178, left rear quarter. This may be the second prototype, V2. Heinkel He 178, rear, high oblique. This may be the second prototype, V2.

Heinkel He 178 - History

After all he had learned with the He 176 rocket aircraft, developed in close cooperations with the RLM, Heinkel was embittered at not receiving the support he expected. After the first flights the gentlemen lost interest. This did not mean everybody in decisive positions at the RLM, but the Second World War was looming, and there were other things to worry about. The He 176 had been officially supported and developed with the RLM approval almost from inception, but not the He 178. The 178 design was pushed through without the knowledge of the RLM, and it was this small aircraft which was later to usher in the Jet Age.

As already mentioned, for the construction of the He 176 towards the end of 1936, Heinkel had built a special hall near the Wasserhalle to one side of the giant assembly hangars. The 176 was developed there, and this was where Hans Joachim Pabst von Ohain worked on his turbines. By February 1937 the first of these was running on the test bed.

Erich Warsitz: "When Ohain's He-S3 turbine was finally ready, first of all we planned a basic flight with myself in the cockpit, since I was the test pilot-specialist for all Heinkel's rocket designs. The turbine would be installed as an auxiliary motor as we had done previously with the von Braun and Walter rockets. We chose the He 118, a heavy two-seater reconnaissance aircraft. It stood well above the ground, and the large undercarriage gave us the necessary clearance to install the turbine below the fuselage. On the third flight the turbine caught fire, however, and although I was able to land straight away, the whole aircraft burned and that put an end to the in-flight testing with that particular engine."

Once the second turbine, the He-S3-A, was ready at the beginning of 1939, it was fitted in the He 178 frame which Heinkel had had built meanwhile. This was a shoulder-winged monoplane of all-light metal construction, the fuselage being of duralium. The machine had been built with an eye to safety, had a broad wheelbase, adequate large brakes and bore no comparison to the He 176.

Test Flight of the Heinkel He 178, the First Jet Aircraft

The Heinkel-produced He 178 has the distinct honor of becoming the world's first aircraft to fly solely with a turbojet engine.

The aircraft was already in the design stage in 1936, eventually hitting the skies before the war in 1939. A fundamental design to the core, the aircraft was nonetheless a major stepping stone to the world of modern jet aircraft and helped propel the German High Command interest in turbojet technology. The single flyable prototype was furthered in design as far as possible before finding a home in the Berlin Air Museum, only to be unknowingly destroyed by Allied bombers in an air raid in 1943.

Heinkel entered the field of jet propulsion through his acquaintance with the physicist Robert Pohl of the University of Gottingen. Professor Pohl had a graduate student, Hans von Ohain, who had invented a jet engine. It didn't work very well, but Pohl recommended Ohain to Heinkel, who hired him. With support from Heinkel, Ohain built a jet that ran successfully in March 1937. Two years later, he had one with twice as much thrust. Heinkel installed it in the He 178, which flew in August 1939. It was the world's first jet plane.

The Heinkel He 178 was the world's first aircraft to fly under turbojet power, and the first practical jet plane, the pioneering example of this type of aircraft. It was a private venture by the German Heinkel company in accordance with director Ernst Heinkel's emphasis on developing technology for high-speed flight and first flew on 27 August 1939 piloted by Erich Warsitz. This had been preceded by a short hop three days earlier.

Heinkel He-178

The Heinkel He-178 was the world's first jet powered aircraft. The aircraft was a prototype used to test the practicality of turbojet engine power.

Erich Warsitz, after piloting the Heinkel He-178 on its first test flight, observed that although the aircraft had a good top speed, turbine run-up was relatively slow. There was minimal initial thrust, and that was of concern to Warsitz.

However, once the aircraft got moving, its acceleration increased exponentially. The Heinkel He-178 performed so well that its initial flight was extended beyond one circuit of the airfield as originally planned.

Although the landing speed was fast, resulting in almost the entire runway being used before the aircraft could be brought to a halt, it was well controlled. Overall it was a very successful first flight.

While the first Heinkel He-178 test flight was a success, the German government was not enthusiastic about producing such an aircraft. Their primary concerns were its poor acceleration and the dependability of its power plant.

RC Heinkel He-178

Pictured above is the RC Heinkel He-178 scratch built by Bruce Grey. We received the following email from him:

"Just surfing the web and have stumbled on to your website. I found the video and photo of the RC Heinkel He-178. The Length is 1.57 metres (62 inches) and wingspan of 1.8 metres (71 inches). Take off weight of 21 lbs. Landing weight approximately 18 lbs. It was powered by a JJ-1200 Mk2 mini turbine. Only flew 11 times and although still serviceable/in one piece, it now has been stripped of it's engine and radio gear."

We asked Bruce why he chose such a rare subject to model. This is what he said: "I guess the early jets fascinate me. Anything after about the mid 1950s gets a bit too brutish (if there is such a word) or in my mind they don't have any class. Also to build something that others haven't was appealing, everyone wants an F16 and so forth. I could, for a short time, re-live the pioneering dream, so to speak, and imagine what it must have been like for Hans Von Ohain and the Heinkel team starting from scratch."

We also wanted to know how the RC Heinkel He-178 was to fly. His answer: "How did it fly? Very well. Heavy and at times under powered, but stable in the air. I was always cautious of structural failure so never did aerobatics. I think I only ever did one or two low stress barrel rolls."

And, why did he fly his RC Heinkel He-178 only eleven times? "Only 11 times, because I'm more of an model engineer than a flier. Certainly enjoy flying models, but the build challenge is greater, so after it flew a few times I'd achieved what I set out to do. Another huge fact was that it was very unstable when on the ground. There's a very good reason why they put nose wheels on jet aircraft. They tend to want to spin around and changes ends like a skyrocket without a tail stick attached or perhaps try pushing a pencil from one end at 50 kph, it certainly wants to switch ends. It would have been only a matter of time before I had a serious accident with it.

Incidentally I built a second RC Heinkel He-178 with fixed undercarriage. I thought I applied all the lessons learned from the first, however, it was worse on the ground than the one you have pictures of. Lighter in weight and flew better. It was so dangerous on the ground that on it's fourth takeoff run it spun out of control and hit a friends model plane, thus damaging both beyond economical repair. I believe Erich Warsitz had to use heavy differential braking to keep it going straight on the ground. Propeller aircraft don't suffer the same as they have prop wash going over the fin and rudder all the time.

Lutz Warsitz is the son of the original test pilot for this aircraft and now lives in Switzerland. He has written a book about his father and also created a website, you can see this at If you give it a month or so, I think Lutz is putting some movie footage of my Heinkel on his site."

Bruce tells us that an article about his building of the model was published in Airborne Magazine of Australia, and later Jet Power and Jet International.

August 27, 1939: First Flight Of A Jet Aircraft

On this day in 1939 the Heinkel He 178 was the world’s first aircraft to fly under turbojet power, and the first practical jet aircraft. It was a private venture by the German Heinkel company in accordance with director Ernst Heinkel’s emphasis on developing technology for high-speed flight and first flew on 27 August 1939, piloted by Erich Warsitz.

In 1936, a young engineer named Hans von Ohain had taken out a patent on using the exhaust from a gas turbine as a means of propulsion.

He presented his idea to Ernst Heinkel, who agreed to help develop the concept. Von Ohain successfully demonstrated his first engine, the Heinkel HeS 1 in 1937, and plans were quickly made to test a similar engine in an aircraft. The He 178 was designed around von Ohain’s third engine design, the HeS 3, which burned diesel fuel. The result was a small aircraft with a metal fuselage of conventional configuration and construction.

The jet intake was in the nose, and the plane was fitted with tail wheel undercarriage. The main landing gear was retractable, but remained fixed in “down” position throughout the flight trials.

The aircraft made its maiden flight on 27 August 1939, only days before Germany started World War II by invading Poland. The aircraft was a success however, speeds were limited to 598 kilometers per hour (372 mph) at the proposed service altitude, and combat endurance was only 10 minutes.

On 1 November 1939, after the German victory in Poland, Heinkel arranged a demonstration of the jet to officials. Herman Goering, commander in chief of the German air force, didn’t even show up. Ernst Udet and Erhard Milch watched the aircraft perform, but were unimpressed.

Heinkel was disappointed by the lack of official interest in his private-venture jet. In his autobiography, he attributes this to the failure of the leaders of the Reichsluftfahrtministerium to understand the advantages of jet propulsion and what a breakthrough the He 178 represented.

Similar claims are common in literature on Heinkel however the reason the Reich Air Ministry was not interested was because it was developing jets itself. Nobody at Heinkel knew anything about these secret military projects.

In 1939 BMW and Junkers were working on “official” turbojet engines for the German air force. As these were axial-flow turbojets, not radial-flow turbojets like those being developed at Heinkel and by Frank Whittle in England, they promised much higher flight speeds.

In July 1944 both the German and British air forces began flying jet powered fighters operationally. The British Gloster Meteor F.I, powered by Rolls-Royce Welland radial-flow turbojets, had a maximum speed (in level flight and at optimum altitude) of 430 mph (668 km/h).This was about the same as piston engined fighters being flown in combat at that time.

The German Messerschmitt Me 262, powered by Junkers Jumo 004 axial-flow turbojets, had a maximum speed of 540 mph (870 km/h), 100 mph faster than the best piston engined fighters. It also had superior climb performance. On the downside the engines had a service life of about 25 hours whereas the British ones could run for 180 hours.

The He 178 was placed in the Berlin Air Museum, where it was destroyed in an air raid in 1943.


Su fabricante, empresa alemana de ingeniería aeronáutica constituida con capital privado y dirigida por el ingeniero Ernst Heinkel, se caracterizaba por financiar conceptos radicales en desarrollos para la aviación. Al mismo tiempo que se desarrollaban los trabajos del avión cohete He 176, se acometió el diseño de este avión. De la mesa de diseño de los gemelos Siegfried y Walter Günter nació un pequeño aeroplano de alas rectas de madera, montadas en la parte superior de un fuselaje metálico, con el turborreactor colocado dentro del mismo complementado con una toma de aire frontal y un tren de aterrizaje retráctil (fijado con pernos en el vuelo inicial) y con rueda de cola. Su motor se desarrolló a partir de los trabajos realizados por el joven ingeniero alemán Hans von Ohain, quien en 1936 presentó a la firma un bosquejo para la construcción de un motor a reacción centrífugo que se convertiría en el motor HeS 3b el cual alcanzaba en sus etapas iniciales un empuje efectivo de 340 kgf.

Primer vuelo Editar

Cinco días antes de estallar la Segunda Guerra Mundial, el 27 de agosto de 1939, el He 178, pilotado por el capitán Erich Warsitz, sobrevoló el aeródromo de la factoría en Rostock-Marienehe. Los resultados del primer vuelo entregaron una velocidad máxima de 648 km/h, muy superior a la de los aviones a pistón del momento, y una velocidad crucero de 584 km/h.

Sin embargo, debido a que los militares alemanes estaban convencidos de que el conflicto recién iniciado podía ganarse con las armas convencionales disponibles y el conservadurismo acerca del diseño en general del avión demostrado por ellos, no se mostró ningún interés oficial en la expansión del nuevo concepto. El proyecto fue costeado principalmente con fondos particulares y hasta el 28 de octubre de 1939 no fue examinado en vuelo por los representantes del Reichsluftfahrtministerium, los generales Ernst Udet, Erhard Milch y Lucht. El aparato no despertó gran interés. Sin embargo, Heinkel era obstinado y se decidió a emprender, con su propio capital, la construcción de un caza a reacción: el Heinkel He 280.

Epílogo Editar

Finalmente, se esbozó un prototipo mejorado del He 178 de mayor envergadura, pero nunca fue construido. El He 178 fue destinado para exhibición en el Museo Técnico Alemán en Berlín, donde fue destruido como resultado de los bombardeos sobre la ciudad durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial.

Heinkel He 178

The Heinkel He 178 was the world's first aircraft to fly under turbojet power, and the first practical jet plane. It was a private venture by the Heinkel company in accordance with director Ernst Heinkel's emphasis on developing technology for high-speed flight and first flew on August 27 1939 piloted by Erich Warsitz. This had been preceded by a short hop three days earlier.

In 1936, a young engineer named Hans von Ohain had taken out a patent on using the exhaust from a gas turbine as a means of propulsion. He presented his idea to Heinkel, who agreed to help develop the concept. Von Ohain successfully demonstrated his first engine in 1937, and plans were quickly put in place to test a similar engine in an aircraft. The He 178 was designed around von Ohain's third engine design, which burned diesel fuel. The result was a small aircraft of conventional configuration and construction, with a metal fuselage and high-mounted wooden wings. The jet intake was in the nose, and the plane was fitted with taildragger style undercarriage. On the first flight, the main gear was fixed, but was later made retractable.

The aircraft was an outstanding success - although just a flying testbed, it was only slightly slower than the fastest piston engined aircraft of the day. On November 1 1939, Heinkel arranged a demonstration of the jet for the Reichsluftfahrtministerium ("Reich Aviation Ministry" - RLM), where both Ernst Udet and Erhard Milch watched the aircraft perform. However, due to the conservative approach to aircraft design then favoured by both men, no official interest in the concept was shown. Nevertheless, Heinkel was undeterred, and decided to embark on the development of a jet fighter, the Heinkel He 280 as a private venture using what had been learned from the He 178.

The He 178 was placed in the Deutsches Technikmuseum ("German Technical Museum") in Berlin, where it was destroyed in an air raid during World War II.

The Heinkel He 178 was the world's first aircraft to fly under turbojet power, and the first practical jet plane. It beat the Whittle powered Gloster E28 by about a year and a half. The He-178 was just a testbed and flew only a couple times. The Gloster E28 model is also in the Fiddlersgreen Collection (see above) Display stands included

Heinkel He-178-Worlds First Turbo Jet-1939

Purely experimental, the He-178 was the worlds first turbojet-powered aircraft, flying nearly two years before the British Gloster E28.

The Heinkel He-178 was a small and fairly basic aircraft.
What made it exceptional was that it was powered by a gas turbine, or jet engine. Work on this type of propulsion was in hand in other countries, but Germany had reached the starting line first. Now, at 06.00 on Sunday, August 27,1939, Flugkapitan Erich Warsitz opened the throttle and sent the strange looking propellerless machine trundling down the runway at Marienehe. Gradually it gained speed, and after a rather long run, lifted into the air.

The landing gear was locked down, and no attempt was made to explore the flight envelope. It was enough to prove the new propulsion system. Warsitz turned back towards the airfield, but mist was rolling in, and he had to fly several circuits before it was clear enough to land. This first flight by jet propulsion lasted 15 minutes.

An interesting tidbit I ran across was that the landing gear WASN'T retractable, although it looks like it should be. Supposedly they were going to make it retractable later, but never got around to it. Aaron (Fiddlersgreen designer) Evidently, it jambed and since it was just a test bed, they hadn't any real need to fix it

RE the first Italian jet.
Actually, you could say it was the Stipa-Caproni and be done with it, or it could be the Caproni Thermo-Jet that used the same principles with an internal combustion engine driving the compressor and additional fuel injected into the compressed, heated air stream. It is worth mentioning the distinctions among these early jets in that the Whittle engines had centrifugal compressors and were not turbo jets. Turbo jets have a turbine in the exhaust that drives an axial compressor up front. Centrifugal compressor engines are characterized by large air intakes up front, making the fuselages seem inordinately fat. Hence, the Gloster, Yak, and the Mig-15 had centrifugal compressors whereas the German jets used axial flow compressors as did most American jets beginning at least with the Lockheed P-80. Then, as you know from your original aero background, there are engines that use aerodynamic compression (ram jets) and mechanically assisted compression (pulse jets). The key is that combustion requires a certain residence time in the combustion chamber for the reaction to release chemically stored energy. The airstream has to be compressed, but it is as important that the airstream be slowed down so that combustion occurs inside the combustion chamber rather than downstream in the nozzle or even outside of the engine. Dave Finkleman

A nice model, but let's not let misinformation spread around. A turbojet consists of a compressor, combustor, turbine, and a nozzle. It doesn't matter whether the compressor is axial or "centrifugal" - it's still a turbojet.
Also, the P-80 used the same English Whittle engine used in the Gloster E28, so it had a centrifugal compressor. The engine was built in England and shipped to Lockheed. Despite the fact that the engine had a centrifugal compressor, the Lockheed P-80 had side inlets. A Modeling Pal

I want to thank you for your quick response on the He-178 and willingness to go the extra mile. I've never seen that level of customer service anywhere. It's clear this is a labor of love for you.
I very much appreciate it. Robert (Mike) Melendez

Heinkel He-178

The first turbojet engines were barely more powerful than the larger piston engines of the time, but as manufacturing and operating experience was improved their power quickly increased. One of the major challenges was to develop metals that could withstand the heat and stress generated within the engines. Before long, the aerodynamic problems of high speed flight beyond the Mach 1, the so called sound barrier would also present themselves to scientists and designers

The Heinkel He-178 was powered by the company's HeS 3b gasoline burning engine with an effective rating of just 1,100 pounds of thrust. The He-178 became the worlds first turbojet powered airplane to fly when on that August day in 1939 , Flugkapitan Erich Warsitz made a flight around the factory airfield at Rostock-Marienehe, Germany.

Development was pretty much a private venture and it was not until October 28, 1938 official observers namely, Milch, Udet and Lucht of the Reichsluftfahrtministerium were to see the aircraft in flight.. The project attracted little interest and work was discontinued in favor of the He-280 (right)

The great moment for Heinkel, von Ohain, and for Erich Warsitz came in the early morning hours of August 24, 1939. The He-178 took of under its own power, made a straight flight, turned and landed. There was only one fault: the landing gear jammed,. forcing Warsitz to remain under the planned speed. A new milestone had been laid, and in great excitement Heinkel, at 4:30 that morning, telephoned his friend Ernst Udet in Berlin. "It was some time before Udet, drowsy and cross, answered," Heinkel said in his autobiography, "A Stormy Life." "'Good morning, Heinkel here. I just wanted to report that Flight Captain Warsitz has successfully flown the world's first jet plane, the He 178, with the world's first jet engine, the He S 3-8, and landed safely after the flight. " There was silence at thc other end of the line. Then Udet growled back: 'Well then, fine. I congratulate you. And Warsitz too. But now let me get some sleep !"'

Germany's top officials slept all too well during this period. It was not until the report slipped out of England through devious channels that Great Britain was about to test her first jet aircraft- the Gloster Whittle E 28/39-that it dawned on them what scientists and designers had long believed: a revolution in aviation was at hand. No narrow-mindedness on the part of the government curbed the aircraft industry's search for progress either in England or in the United States. Even Italy got into the act independent of German developments.

This (above) seems to be a very well made reproduction of the Heinkel He-178

The interesting role of the Heinkel He-118:

The He-118 before testing with the Heinkel He S 3a turbojet engine

The He-118 had resulted from a design competition for a single engine dive bomber and had been also rejected by the Technical Ounder the fuselage. Flight Captain Kunzel, who was working with Warsitz on the testing program, started up the turbine at an altitude 1,350 ft, the machine surged forward with a noticeable jolt and disappeared from view.

The landing was also made by propeller nevertheless, the He-118 had flown with a jet engine. All of the test flights were successful-except for one. The pilot had a narrow escape when the engine suddenly caught fire and burned up after the plane had already taxied to a standstill. Luckily he managed to leap out of the cabin in time to save himself.

Designed in 1935 with it's first flight on January 14, 1936, the He-118 was competitor to the Ju-87 for the Luftwaffe's new dive bomber, the He-118 proved to be a more that capable aircraft, but in the end Junkers was awarded the contract. Altogether 13 aircraft were made with two being sold to Japan.

The He 118 made it's mark in history however by being the first aircraft to fly with a turbojet engine powering it- the He S 3a- if only briefly!:
It was in the summer of 1938, when testing of the new engine moved from the test bed to finding out how it would perform under flying conditions. The engine was mounted beneath the fuselage and between the wings of the He 118 as it had a high ground clearance which allowed for the safe fitting and maintenance of the engine. Test flights would start at around 4am and end at 6am this was to keep the development secret, the He-118 would take off under the power of it's piston engine, later igniting the He S 3a, which would result in a loud noise and a blue flame from the jet engine and a notable turn of speed from the He-118. In the buildup to the flight of the He-178, the He-118 was flown on turbojet power alone, it's piston engine being cut off briefly in flight. At the time there were reports in near by villages of strange sounds, and in one case bits of metal dropping out of the sky.

The Japanese had been so impressed with the He-118 that they had bought from Germany that they planned to produce it in a modified form for carrier operation, but during a test flight the test plane had broken up in midair. So late in 1938 the Yokosuka Arsenal, was instructed to design a replacement inspired by the He-118. Chief Engineer Masao Yamana and his team created a clean mid-wing monoplane not only smaller and lighter than its inspiration, the He-118, but it had an internal bomb-bay and a longer range. Called the Yokosuka D4Y Suisei (Judy) total production of all variants came to 2,038 by the end of the war.

'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 whirling sound, my jet shot through the air.

Later when asked what it felt like, I said, "It felt as if angels were pushing'. General Leutnant Adolf Galland

In 1936, a young engineer named Hans von Ohain had taken out a patent on using the exhaust from a gas turbine as a means of propulsion.

He presented his idea to Heinkel, who agreed to help develop the concept. Von Ohain successfully demonstrated his first engine in 1937, and plans were quickly made to test a similar engine in an aircraft. The He 178 was designed around von Ohain's third engine design, which burned diesel fuel.

The He-178 was a private venture by the German Heinkel company in accordance with director Ernst Heinkel's emphasis on developing technology for high-speed flight

Guido Van Roy sends this He-178 with fantasy markings which is quite different from the actual He-178.

"Attached are the 4 sheets for a fantasy Luftwaffe version of the Heinkel He.178. As the use of swastika symbols is very much contested in Germany I decided not to add these" Guido

Other than the horizontal stab design previously sent no real problems, just me:

Wing: my first wing assembly was not competition worthy due to me re-gluing the wing trying to get a correct dihedral printed another wing and constructed a wing spar. The photo shows the spar before I tapered the outboard edges.

Canopy: I had to add a small white square gap fill to the front canopy windshield where it attaches to the nose. Just my build I guess, I fussed with trying to get a nice fit all around but gave up.

Guessing the landing gear: I guessed at placing the longer side of the Landing Gear Bracket on top and the landing gear strut with the longer end opening attached to the wheel. I selected flat tooth picks sanded round for more believable size struts and attached the bottom join of two to the base of the Landing Gear Strut. I guess the landing gear door that glues directly to the wheel on the real He-178 is attached to the axlehousing at least that is how I&rsquoll explain it to the rivet counters.

Main Wheels: were stuffed with pieces of kleenex tissue.

Tail Wheel: Inserted cardboard to thicken the tire and attached to fuselage with a thin wire.

Landing Gear Details illustration. The gear door attaching to the wheel is not the shape provided on the parts page. No biggie with the actual He-178 photo below the detail.

That's all I remember for this experience. Thank you for the model, Bob

This is He-178 reproduction hanging in a museum

A drawing of the He-178, curiously, with its landing gear retracted.

Two more images of the Heinkel He-178

An old photo of the Heinkel He-178 worlds first jet aircraft.


Length: 24 ft 6 in
Wingspan: 23 ft 3 in
Height: 6 ft 10 in
Wing area: 98 ft²
Empty weight: 3,572 lb
Max takeoff weight: 4,405 lb
Powerplant: 1× HeS 3
turbojet, 992 lbf

Maximum speed: 380 mph
Range: 125 mi

Heinkel He 178 - History

The Heinkel He 178 was the world's first aircraft to fly under turbojet power, and the first practical jet aircraft.

Heinkel HeS 3
(HeS - Heinkel Strahltriebwerke)

The HeS 3 design was largely based on the HeS 1 but converted to burn liquid fuel instead of hydrogen gas used in the HeS 1. The first HeS 3 design was generally similar to the HeS 1, using an 8-blade inducer and 16-blade axial compressor. The compressed air flowed into an annular combustion chamber between the compressor and turbine, which made the engine longer.[citation needed] The first example was bench tested around March 1938, but did not reach the design thrust because a small compressor and combustor had been used to reduce the frontal area.. Max Hahn, from Heinkel, applied May 31, 1939, for an US patent, granted Sept 16, 1941: 'Aircraft Power Plant', US2256198, with the von Ohain design.

An improved engine, the HeS 3b, had a 14-blade inducer and 16 blade axial compressor. In order to minimise the diameter the widest part of the annular combustor was placed in line with the smaller diameter axial entry to the impeller. At exit from the impeller the air flowed forwards, then turned through 180 degrees to flow rearward through the combustor. The flow was then turned radially inwards to enter the turbine. Although not as compact as the original design, the 3b was much simpler. The fuel was used to cool rear roller bearing, which also preheated the fuel.

The engine was completed in early 1939, and was flight-tested under one of the remaining Heinkel He 118 dive bomber prototypes. The flight tests were carried out in extreme secrecy, taking off and landing under propeller power, and only flying in the early morning before other workers had arrived. Testing proceeded smoothly, but the engine eventually burned out its turbine.

World’s first industrial gas turbine – 1939

From Prof. Edward Taylor’s paper collection

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