Heinkel He 119

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He 119
Role Reconnaissance bomber
Manufacturer Heinkel
First flight July 1937
Primary user Luftwaffe
Number built 8

The Heinkel He 119 was an experimental single-engine monoplane developed in Germany. A private venture by Heinkel to test radical ideas by the Günter brothers, the He 119 was originally intended to act as an unarmed reconnaissance bomber capable of eluding all fighters due to its high performance.


Design was begun in the late summer of 1936. A notable feature of the aircraft was the streamlined fuselage, most likely as an evolutionary descendant of the 1932-vintage Heinkel He 70 record-setting single-engined mailplane design, but without the He 70's protruding canopy-enclosed crew accommodation existing anywhere along the exterior. Instead, the He 119's forward fuselage featured an extensively glazed cockpit forming the nose itself, heavily framed with many diagonally braced windows immediately behind the propeller spinner's rear edge. Two of the three man crew sat on either side of the driveshaft which ran aftwards to a "power system", a coupled pair of Daimler-Benz DB 601 engines mounted above the wing center-section within the fuselage, forming a drive unit known as the DB 606, the first German aircraft to use the "high-power" powerplant system.

The DB 606 was installed just behind the aft cockpit wall, near the center of gravity with an enclosed extension shaft passing through the centerline of the extensively glazed cockpit to drive a large four-blade variable-pitch airscrew in the nose. An evaporative cooling system was used on the V1, with the remaining prototypes receiving a semi-retractable radiator directly below the engine to augment cooling during take-off and climb.

Only eight prototypes were completed and the aircraft did not see production mainly because of the shortage of DB 601 "component" engines to construct the 1,500 kg (3,300 lb) "power systems" they used. The first two prototypes were built as land planes with retractable landing gear. The third prototype (V3) was constructed as a seaplane with twin floats. This was tested at the Erprobungsstelle Travemünde military seaplane test facility on the Baltic coast, and was scrapped in 1942 at Marienehe.

On 22 November 1937, the fourth prototype (V4) made a world class record flight in which it recorded an airspeed of 505 km/h (314 mph), with a payload of 1,000 kg (2,205 lb), over a distance of 1,000 km (621 mi). The four remaining prototypes were completed during the spring and early summer of 1938, the V5 and V6 being A-series production prototypes for the reconnaissance model, and the V7 and V8 being B-series production prototypes for the bomber model.

These four aircraft were three-seaters with a defensive armament of one 7.92 mm (0.312 in) MG 15 machine gun in a dorsal position, V7 and V8 having provision for a normal bombload of three 250 kg (551 lb) bombs or maximum bombload of 1,000 kg (2,205 lb). V7 and V8 were sold to Japan in May 1940, and extensively studied; the insights thus gained were used in the design of the Yokosuka R2Y.[citation needed] The remaining prototypes served as engine test-beds, flying with various prototype versions of the DB 606 and DB 610 (twinned DB 605s) and the experimental DB 613 (twinned DB 603).

Specifications (He 119 V6)[edit]

Heinkel He 119 V4 3-view.svg

Data from Warplanes of the Third Reich[1]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 3
  • Length: 14.80 m (48 ft 6½ in)
  • Wingspan: 15.90 m (52 ft 2 in)
  • Height: 5.40 m (17 ft 8½ in)
  • Wing area: 50.02 m² (538.2 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 5,201 kg (11,464 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 7,581 kg (16,678 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Daimler-Benz DB 606A-2, twenty four-cylinder liquid-cooled coupled engine, 1,753 kW (2,350 hp)


  • Maximum speed: 591 km/h (319 knots, 367 mph) at 4,500 m (14,765 ft)
  • Cruise speed: 510 km/h (276 knots, 317 mph) at 4,500 m (14,765 ft) (60% power)
  • Range: 3,123 km (1,687 nmi, 1,940 mi) at 6,000 m (19,685 ft)
  • Service ceiling: 8,500 m (27,890 ft)
  • Climb to 2,000 m (6,560 ft): 3.1 min
  • Climb to 4,500 m (19,685 ft): 10.7 min


See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists


  1. ^ Green 1971, p. 331.
  • Donald, David, "An Industry of Prototypes - Heinkel He 119", Wings of Fame, Volume 12. Aerospace Publishing Ltd., London, UK/AIRtime Publishing Inc., Westport, Connecticut, 1998, ISBN 1-86184-021-7 / 1-880588-23-4, pp. 30–34.
  • Green, William. Warplanes of the Third Reich. New York: Doubleday, 1972. ISBN 0-385-05782-2.