Record-Breaking Innovation

Inside Stories

The Heinkel He 119 was a ground-breaking warplane project with a revolutionary design and radical powerplant. Malcolm V Lowe explains why you may have never heard of it

img_81-23.jpg
 The very first He 119, the V1, with a cumbersome radiator arrangement beneath its forward fuselage, which was a necessary addition to the original evaporation cooling system. This image appears to have been heavily re-touched on the fuselage aft of the cockpit
IMAGES COURTESY MALCOLM V LOWE COLLECTION

The Heinkel Flugzeugwerke was one of Nazi Germany’s major suppliers of frontline warplanes for Luftwaffe service. Led by its charismatic and wily founder, Ernst Heinkel, the company was already successful in the era prior to the Nazi takeover of Germany in 1933. Heinkel excelled in advanced designs that featured sleek, streamlined monoplane construction at a time when many manufacturers elsewhere in the world were still concentrating on refining the increasingly obsolete biplane concept.

But not all of Heinkel’s creations were successful and among these failures was the He 119, which proved to be a costly, if impressive, development dead-end.

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