He 116 V2
The He 116 was originally designed to fulfil a Deutsche Lufthansa requirement for a long-range transport on its projected Far East mail route, fourteen air-craft of this type were built, five of them being military models. Building of the He 116 began in 1936. It had a metal fuselage and wooden-framed large-span wings, which accommodated four 270-hp Hirth HM 508C engines driving two-blade variable-pitch propellers. The intention had been to use 500-hp Hirth engines, but these were not available in time.
The first prototype, the He 116 V1, was completed in 1937, and an initial production series of eight machines was laid down. The first of these was the He 116 V2 (D-AJIE “Schlesien”), all aircraft being allocated versuch or experimental numbers.
The next four aircraft, also classed as prototypes were designated He 116A-0, the first making its maiden flight in the summer of 1937. Two of them were sold to the Japanese-run Manchurian Air Lines with whom they remained in service until they were destroyed in late 1945. The two (J-BAKD "Nogi" and J-EAKF “Togo") were purchased for use on mail services by Manchurian Air Lines. These reached Tokyo on April 29, 1938, having left Berlin six days earlier and completing the 9,532 miles (15 340 km) in a flying time of 54 hr 17 min, and subsequently served on the Tokyo-Hsingking route.
Another A-series He 116 (D-ARFD "Rostock") was completed as a long-distance record machine with 179kW / 240 hp Hirth HM 508H engines and an enlarged wing with a span and area of 82 ft (25 m) and 813.75 sq.ft (75.6 sq.m) respectively, and provision for rocket-assisted take-off equipment. Designated He 116R, on July 30, 1938, this aircraft established a new international record by flying 6,214 miles (10000 km) in 48 hr 18 min.
During 1938 various powerplants and structural alterations were tried in two or three of the remaining aircraft in an attempt to fulfil the high-speed potential of the design. One such experiment included the installation of four JATO rockets under the wings of the He 116R Rostock, formerly the A-03 or V3. Although the initial trial caused damage to the wings, another attempt was made on a closed-circuit course and an international distance record of 10000 km (6214 miles) was achieved on July 30, 1938.
The last two of the initial batch, the V7 and V8, were modified as prototypes for a military B series. Stripped of their civil fittings, and with a new glazed nose section, accommodation was available for two pilots, a radio operator and a navigator. Six He 116B-0 preproduction examples were ordered. Fitted with extensive photographic equipment, and joined by the similarly modified V7 and V8, they served within Germany with the Luftwaffe in the long-range reconnaissance, aerial mapping and communications roles. They were unarmed, and were powered by 240-hp HM 508H engines.
The R.L.M. began to evince interest in the aircraft as a long-range photo-reconnaissance aircraft and the ninth machine was built as the He 116B which was intended specifically for this role, and featured a completely redesigned and extensively glazed nose section.
Five more He 116B aircraft (He 116 V10-V14) were built, and structurally these differed little from the commercial He 116A.