Heinkel He-162

Heinkel He-162

Heinkel He-162

Primary Function:
Weight Empty:
Max. Weight:
Cruise Speed:
Max. Speed:
Climb Rate:
First Flight:
Year Deployed:
BMW 003E
1,764 lbs.
3,660 lbs.
6,180 lbs.
2- 20 mm
29 ft. 8 in.
23 ft. 7 in.
450 mph
562 mph
4,615 fpm
39,400 feet
600 miles

The Heinkel He-162 project started on September 8, 1944. The project’s name was “Salamander”. The popular name for the aircraft was “Volksjager” (people’s fighter). It was just a few weeks after conception, on December 6, 1944, that the first He-162 took to the sky.

The Heinkel He-162 was the product of a desperate German effort to stem the tide of Allied advances in 1944. The aircraft was small, inexpensive, and easy to build. Its mission was to intercept Allied bombers over the German homeland.

Construction of the aircraft was light metal for the fuselage, with a molded plywood nose, and a one piece wing made from wood, tipped with metal. The He-162 cockpit had an upward hinged canopy. Inside was a modern ejection seat.

The engine of the Heinkel He-162 was mounted on top of the fuselage. That saved what would normally be design and construction time to build an aircraft around its engine. The engine was attached to the fuselage with three large bolts. A two stroke engine on board was used as a starter motor for the jet.

A test variant of the He-162 was designed to operate using low octane lawn mower type fuel to ease Germany’s fuel shortage. Another had forward swept wings. Experimental aircraft were tried with twin engines for interception missions.

There are conflicting stories about the handling of the aircraft. While most agree that the position of the engine did not affect aerodynamics, some say that it made the aircraft top heavy, and unstable during flight. Other accounts are that it handled comparable to other fighters while having a higher top speed.

During the very first flight of the Heinkel He-162, one of the main landing gear doors fell off. The doors were made from adhesive bonded wood, as were the wings and tail fins. It turned out that the adhesive used to bond the wood contained acid that slowly ate into the wood itself. While a new adhesive was developed, test flights continued. Four days after its first flight, the wings came apart during a test flight, and the aircraft was lost.

The aircraft was slated for mass production to such an extent that its maintenance was not an issue.  Damaged He-162 aircraft would simply be replaced by new ones. It was anticipated that He-162 production by a network of hundreds of sub-contractors, including woodworkers and furniture makers, would reach some 4,000 aircraft per month.

The first Heinkel He-162 aircraft were delivered for operational evaluation and trials in January of 1945. In February, some pilots from propeller fighter aircraft were assigned to the new interceptors. However, none ever saw combat due to the war ending.

By February of 1945, about 100 aircraft had been produced, but not enough pilots were trained to fly them. Huge numbers of workers had been organized to build the He-162, even before its design was completed.

Hitler youth were trained in gliders as pilots for the Heinkel He-162. They were to go immediately from glider training into the interceptors. After some experimenting, the idea was dropped. A jet aircraft was beyond the capabilities of all but the very best pilots.

By May of 1945 one group of three squadrons of He-162 aircraft was formed at Leck in Schleswig-Holstein. The airfield was captured by the British only four days after the group formation.

When the Allies moved into Germany, they found about 800 of the aircraft in various stages of construction at a number of underground facilities.

Eventually the British Royal Air Force acquired eleven Heinkel He-162 aircraft for testing. We do not know the results of those tests.

Heinkel He-162

Heinkel He-162

The RC Heinkel He-162 from Kavan has a 36 in. wingspan and is 29 in. long. Recommended motors can be a Power 330, Hacker B20-12L or the equivalent driving a Micro Fan unit.

Heinkel He-162

Century Jet Models has a RC Heinkel He-162 kit. It features an epoxy fuselage and sheeted foam wings. Dimensions of the 1/5 scale model are 57 in. wingspan, 73 in. length and an all up weight of around 15.5 lbs. It can be powered by a .91 engine driving a 5 in. fan unit. Century Jet Models also has the RC Heinkel He-162 in a jet turbine power version.

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