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Heinkel Flugzeugwerke was a Germanmarker 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.

History

Heinkel was established at Warnemündemarker in 1922 as the restrictions on German aviation imposed by the Treaty of Versailles were relaxed. The company's first great success was the design of the Heinkel He 70 Blitz high-speed mail plane and airliner for Deutsche Luft Hansamarker in 1932. The type broke a number of air speed records for its class and was followed by the two-engine Heinkel He 111 Doppel-Blitz. Heinkel's most important designers at this point were the twin Günter brothers, Siegfried and Walter, and Heinrich Hertel.

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. In this role, the He 111 became a mainstay of the Luftwaffe. 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-Gerät, Y-Gerät, 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 favour 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 Reichsluftfahrtministeriummarker (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.

From 1941 until the end of the war, the company was merged with engine manufacturer Hirth to form Heinkel-Hirth, giving the company the capability of manufacturing its own powerplants.

The Heinkel name was also behind pioneering work in jet engine and rocket development. In 1939, flown by Erich Warsitz, the Heinkel He 176 and Heinkel He 178 became the first aircraft to fly under liquid-fuel rocket and turbojet power respectively, and Heinkel was the first to develop a jet fighter to prototype stage, the Heinkel He 280. This latter aircraft never reached production however, since the RLM wanted Heinkel to concentrate on bomber production and instead promoted the development of the rival Messerschmitt Me 262. Very late in the war, a Heinkel jet fighter finally took to the air as the Heinkel He 162, but it had barely entered service at the time of Germany's surrender.

Following the war, Heinkel was prohibited from manufacturing aircraft and instead built bicycles, motor scooters (see below), and the Heinkel microcar. The company eventually returned to aircraft in the mid 1950s, licence building F-104 Starfighters for the West German Luftwaffe.

In 1965, the company was absorbed by Vereinigte Flugtechnische Werke (VFW), which was in turn absorbed by Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm in 1980.

Products

Aircraft



Microcar

Heinkel Kabine
Heinkel introduced the "Kabine" bubble car in 1956. It competed with the BMW Isetta and the Messerschmitt KR200. It had a unit body and a four-stroke single-cylinder engine.

Heinkel stopped manufacturing the Kabine in 1958 but production continued under licence, first by Dundalk Engineering Company in Ireland and then by Trojan Cars Ltd., which ceased production in 1966.

Scooters

Heinkel Tourist 175 (1956)
Heinkel introduced the "Tourist" motor scooter in the 1950s. A large and relatively heavy touring machine, it provided good weather protection with a full fairing and the front wheel turning under a fixed nose extension. The "Tourist" had effective streamlining, perhaps unsurprising in view of its aircraft ancestry, and although it had only a , 9.5 bhp 4-stroke engine, it was capable of sustaining speeds of up to 70 mph (official figures 58 mph), given time to get there.

The Heinkel scooter was known for its reliability.

Heinkel also made a lighter scooter called the Heinkel 150.

Mopeds

Heinkel Perle
Heinkel built the Perle moped from 1954 to 1957. The Perle was a sophisticated cycle with a cast alloy unit frame, rear suspension, a fully-enclosed chain with part of the chain enclosure integral with the swingarm, and interchangeable wheels. This high level of sophistication came at a high cost. Approximately twenty-seven thousand Perles were sold.

See also



References

  1. Warsitz, Lutz: THE FIRST JET PILOT - The Story of German Test Pilot Erich Warsitz, Pen and Sword Books Ltd., England, 2009
  2. Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum: 1956 Heinkel Kabine
  3. Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum: 1963 Trojan 200
  4. Faraway Montevideo Heinkel 150 site
  5. Biker Szene Interview with Ernst Heinkel's Son
  6. Wilson, H. "The Encyclopedia of the Motorcycle" p. 77 Dorling-Kindersley Limited, 1995 ISBN 0 7513 0206 6
  7. CycleMaster PAGE 10. 1955 Earls Court Show: Debut of the ‘Mo-ped’ - "HEINKEL - Stand 96"


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