He 178 file photo [9037]

He 178

ManufacturerHeinkel Flugzeugwerke
Primary RolePrototype Aircraft
Maiden Flight27 August 1939


ww2dbaseIn 1936, 25-year-old German engineer Hans Joachim Pabst von Ohain obtained a patent for an idea of using exhaust of a gas turbine as means of propulsion for an aircraft. In 1937, with a partnership with the aircraft manufacturer Heinkel, he proved the idea's worthiness with the first working jet engine; the project at Heinkel was personally oversaw by Ernst Heinkel. With his third engine designated HeS 3, the prototype jet aircraft He 178 was born. The prototype aircraft had an intake in the nose, which fed air into a diesel-powered turbine. The fuselage was made of metal, and the high-mounted wings were wooden. On 24 Aug 1939, the prototype aircraft took a short hop at an airfield as a preliminary test for its maiden flight. Three days later, on 27 Aug, German Air Force (Luftwaffe) Captain Erich Warsitz successfully took the aircraft into the air, thus earning He 178 aircraft the title of the first aircraft to fly using a turbojet engine. With Luftwaffe chief Hermann Göring a believer of conventional propeller-driven aircraft, however, Heinkel had difficulty convincing the German military to even inspect the aircraft until Oct 1939. On 1 Nov, Heinkel was finally able to stage a demonstration for high-ranking German Air Ministry officials Ernst Udet and Erhard Milch, who were not impressed with the performance of this new technology still in its infancy. Although the He 178 project was halted after the lack of military interest, Heinkel continued with its jet program. A second prototype, He 178 V2, was built, but it never embarked on a powered flight. The prototype aircraft was destroyed at German Technical Museum (Deutsches Technikmuseum) in Berlin, Germany in 1943 when the museum came under Allied bombing.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Dec 2009

He 178 Timeline

27 Aug 1939 German Air Force Captain Erich Warsitz successfully took the prototype He 178 jet aircraft into the air, thus making it the first aircraft to fly using a turbojet engine. The test flight was conducted out of Rostock-Marienehe Airfield on the Baltic Sea coast.
1 Nov 1939 Heinkel demonstrated the first jet aircraft He 178 to the German Air Ministry, but the German officials were not impressed.


He 178
MachineryOne HeS 3 turbojet diesel engine rated at 992 pound-force
Span7.20 m
Length7.48 m
Height2.10 m
Wing Area9.10 m²
Weight, Empty1,620 kg
Weight, Maximum1,998 kg
Speed, Maximum598 km/h
Range, Normal200 km


Drawing board design for He 178 jet aircraft, 1939Front view of the He 178 prototype aircraft, date unknownHe 178 V2 prototype jet aircraft, date unknown

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Drawing board design for He 178 jet aircraft, 1939
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