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Class/Manufacturer History: Heinkel Flugzeugwerke was a German aircraft manufacturing company founded by and named after Ernst Heinkel. It is noted for producing bomber aircraft for the Luftwaffe in World War II and for important contributions to high-speed flight, with the pioneering examples of a successful liquid-fueled rocket and a turbojet-powered aircraft in aviation history, with both Heinkel designs' first flights occurring shortly before the outbreak of World War II in Europe.
The Heinkel company is most closely associated with aircraft used by the Luftwaffe during World War II. This began with the adaptation of the He 70 and, in particular, the He 111, to be used as bombers. Heinkel also provided the Luftwaffe's only operational heavy bomber, the Heinkel He 177, although this was never deployed in significant numbers. The German Luftwaffe equipped both of these bombers with the Z-Gerat, Y-Gerat, and Knickebein, developed by Johannes Plendl, and thus they were among the first aircraft to feature advanced night navigation devices, common in all commercial airplanes today.
Heinkel was less successful in selling fighter designs. Before the war, the Heinkel He 112 had been rejected in favor of the Messerschmitt Bf 109, and Heinkel's attempt to top Messerschmitt's design with the Heinkel He 100 failed due to political interference within the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM - Reich Aviation Ministry). The company also provided the Luftwaffe with an outstanding night fighter, the Heinkel He 219, which also suffered from politics and was produced only in limited numbers, but was the first Luftwaffe front-line aircraft to use retractable tricycle gear for its undercarriage design, and the world's first military aircraft to use ejection seats. By contrast, the only heavy bomber to enter service with the Luftwaffe during the war years - the Heinkel He 177 Greif - turned out to be one of the most troublesome German wartime aircraft designs, plagued with numerous engine fires from both its inadequate engine accommodation design and its general airframe design being mis-tasked to be built to be able to perform moderate-angle dive bombing attacks from the moment of its approval by the RLM in early November 1937, which would not be rescinded until September 1942.
Item created by: Lethe on 2015-05-31 17:46:30. Last edited by gdm on 2015-07-14 17:33:19
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