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Heinkel He 178


The first step in the development of this aeroplane was taken in March 1936 when Ernst Heinkel engaged the services of the German gas turbine pioneer Dr Hans Pabst von Ohain and his assistant Max Hahn. The first demonstration turbojet, the hydrogen-fuelled HeS 1, was bench running by September 1937, and a development of this engine, the HeS 3, was flight tested suspended beneath a Heinkel He 118 in 1938, using petrol as fuel, developing about 4.89kW.

By 1939, it had been decided to install a new version, the HeS 3b, in a special aircraft, the He 178, which commenced building that year; it was a shoulder-wing aircraft with wings made largely of wood but with a semi-monocoque metal fuselage with fully retracting and faired-in undercarriage. Tailwheel landing gear was incorporated, and the engine drew its air from an inlet in the nose and exhausted through a long jet pipe which extended to the extreme tail.

The first flight test of a jet powered aircraft took place in the morning of 27 August 1939. The Heinkel He 178 lifted off Marienche aerodrome by Flugkapitan Erich Warsitz under jet power. The jet engine: Hans von Ohain's third prototype, the HeS 3B. In the cockpit sat Heinkle's test pilot, Erich Warsitz. The He 178's landing gear wasn't retracted, so Warsitz had to keep speed down to about 200 mph. The 178 was damaged on its first flight when the engine ingested a bird which caused it to flame out, but the aircraft made a safe landing. The He 178 touched gently and rolled to stop before taxiing to where Hans and Ernst Heinkel were waiting. Hans immediately began an engine check. Heinkel watched and then announced that once the checks were complete the He 178 was to be left untouched. Heinkle's reasoning was that the first flight was a success and, if nothing was disturbed, he'd have a functional prototype to ‘sell’ to the Berlin Air Ministry bureaucrats. The big sedan reappeared and the first jet aeroplane was towed away to storage. Then Heinkel brought out the champagne. The Heinkel flew one more time in the November of 1939 with a 590-kg (1,301-lb) thrust HeS 6 engine, but a number of airframe defects limited the speed to about 600 km/h (373 mph). It was next put in a museum in Berlin where it (and its engine) was destroyed during a bombing raid in 1943.
Although two prototypes were built only the first (the V1) ever flew.
Features of the design were the wooden wing (which limited high speed runs) and the angular intake (which injested FOD at a high rate from the grass at rpm above idle).



He-178 V1
Engine: One Heinkel HE S3B centrifugal-flow turbojet, 992lb (450kg) thrust, later improved to 1,102 lb (500kg)
Wing Span: 7.2m / 23 ft 7 in
Length: 7.48m / 24 ft 7 in
Height: 2.1 m / 6 ft 11 in
Wing area: 9.1 sq.m / 97.95 sq ft
Empty Weight: 1,560 kg / 3,439 lb
Loaded Weight: 1950 kg / 4,400 lb
Max Speed: 435 mph / 700 kph
Cruise speed: 580 km/h / 360 mph
Landing speed 165 km/h / 103 mph
Crew: 1






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