Heinkel He 162 Airplane Videos and Airplane Pictures

Heinkel He 162 Video - Overview

Heinkel He 162 Video - Test flight of Prototype number 6

Heinkel He 162 Aircraft Information

Heinkel He 162

He 162

Warbird Picture - He 162 during post-war trials, USA.

Picture - He 162 during post-war trials, USA.

Role: Fighter
Manufacturer: Heinkel
First flight: 6 December 1944
Introduced: 1945
Status: Retired
Primary user: Luftwaffe
Number built: ca 170

Heinkel's He 162 Volksjxger ("People's Fighter", named after the Volkssturm) was a German single-engine, jet-powered fighter aircraft fielded by the Luftwaffe in World War II. Designed and built quickly, and made primarily of wood as metals were in very short supply and prioritised for other aircraft, the He 162 was nevertheless the fastest of the first generation of Axis and Allied jets. Volksjxger was the Reich Air Ministry's official name for the He 162. Other names given to the plane include Salamander, which was the codename of its construction program, and Spatz ("Sparrow"), which was the name given to the plane by Heinkel.


When the US 8th Air Force re-opened its bombing campaign on Germany in early 1944 with the Big Week offensive, the bombers returned to the skies with the long-range P-51 Mustang in escort. This changed the nature of the war in the air. Earlier in the war, German fighter units could freely attack Allied bombers, and over the previous year, the Luftwaffe had been modifying their fleet to improve their capabilities against them. The addition of heavy cannons and armour had the side effect of reducing their performance, and when the US fighters arrived, the Luftwaffe found itself hopelessly outclassed.

By the end of April, the backbone of the Jagdwaffe (fighter force) had been broken, with many of its leading aces killed in combat. Replacements were slow to arrive, leaving the Luftwaffe unable to put up much of a fight through the summer of 1944. With few planes coming up to fight, the US fighters were let loose on the German airbases, railways and truck traffic. Logistics soon became a serious problem for the Luftwaffe, maintaining aircraft in fighting condition almost impossible, and having enough fuel for a complete mission profile was even more difficult.

This posed a considerable problem for the Luftwaffe. Two camps quickly developed, both demanding the immediate introduction of large numbers of jet fighter aircraft.

One group, led by General der Jxger ("General of Fighters") Adolf Galland, reasoned that superior numbers had to be countered with superior technology, and demanded that all possible effort be put into increasing the production of the Messerschmitt Me 262, even if that meant reducing production of other aircraft in the meantime.

The second group pointed out that this would likely do little to address the problem; the Me 262 had notoriously unreliable powerplants and landing gear, and the existing logistics problems would mean there would merely be more of them on the ground waiting for parts that would never arrive, or for fuel that was not available. Instead, they suggested that a new design be built, one so inexpensive that if a machine was damaged or worn out, it could simply be discarded. Thus was born the concept of the "throwaway fighter".

Galland and other Luftwaffe senior officers expressed vehement opposition to the light fighter idea, while Reichsmarschall Hermann Gxring and Armaments Minister Albert Speer fully supported the idea. Gxring and Speer got their way, and a contract tender for a single-engine jet fighter that was suited for cheap and rapid mass production was established under the name Volksjxger ("People's Fighter").


The official RLM requirement specified a single-seat fighter, powered by a single BMW 003. The main structure would use cheap and unsophisticated parts made of wood and other non-strategic materials and, more importantly, could be assembled by semi- and non-skilled labor. Specifications included a weight of no more than 2,000 kg (4,410 lb), when most fighters of the era were twice that. Maximum speed was specified as 750 km/h (470 mph) at sea level, operational endurance at least a half hour, and the takeoff run no more than 500 m (1,640 ft). Armament was specified as either two 20 mm MG 151/20 cannons with 100 rpg, or two 30 mm (1.18 in) MK 108 cannons with 50 rpg. The Volksjxger needed to be easy to fly. Some suggested that even glider or student pilots should be able to fly the jet effectively in combat, and indeed had the Volksjagerprogramm got into full swing, that is precisely what would have happened. After the war, Ernst Heinkel would say "[The] unrealistic notion that this plane [The He 162] should be a 'people's fighter,' in which the Hitler Youth, after a short training, could fly for the defense of Germany, displayed the unbalanced fanaticism of those days."

The requirement was issued 10 September 1944, with basic designs to be returned within 10 days and to start large scale production by 1 January 1945. Because the winner of the new lightweight fighter design would be building huge numbers of the planes, nearly every German aircraft manufacturer expressed interest in the project. However, Heinkel had already been working on a series of "paper projects" for light single-engine fighters over the last year under the designation P.1073, with most design work being completed by Professor Benz, and had gone so far as to build and test several models and conduct some wind tunnel testing. Although some of the competing designs were technically superior (in particular Blohm + Voss's), with Heinkel's headstart the outcome was largely a foregone conclusion. The results of the competition were announced in October 1944, only three weeks after being announced, and to no one's surprise, the Heinkel entry was selected for production. In order to confuse Allied intelligence, the RLM chose to reuse the 8-162 designation (formerly that of a Messerschmitt fast bomber) rather than the other considered designation He 500.


Heinkel had designed a little aircraft, with a sleek, streamlined fuselage. The BMW 003 axial-flow turbojet was mounted in a pod nacelle uniquely situated atop the fuselage directly aft of the cockpit. Twin vertical tailfins were mounted at the ends of highly dihedralled horizontal tailplanes to clear the jet exhaust, a high-mounted straight wing with a forward-swept trailing edge and shallow dihedral, an ejection seat was provided for the pilot (deemed far more valuable than the machine itself), and tricycle landing gear that retracted into the fuselage. The prototype flew within an astoundingly short period of time: the design was chosen on 25 September and first flew on 6 December, less than 90 days later. This was despite the fact that the factory in Wuppertal making Tego-Film plywood glue - used in a substantial number of late-war German aviation designs that were meant to be constructed from wood - had been bombed by the Royal Air Force and a replacement had to be quickly substituted.

The first flight of the He 162 V1, by Flugkapitxn Gotthard Peter, was fairly successful, but during a high-speed run at 840 km/h (520 mph), the highly acidic replacement glue holding the nose gear cover on failed and the pilot was forced to land. Other problems were noted as well, notably a pitch instability and problems with slideslip due to the rudder design. Neither was considered important enough to hold up the production schedule for even a day. On a second flight on 10 December, again with Peter at the controls, in front of various Nazi officials, the glue again caused a structural failure. This allowed the aileron to separate from the wing, causing the plane to roll over and crash, killing Peter.

An investigation into the failure revealed that the wing structure had to be strengthened and some redesign was needed, as the glue bonding required for the wood parts was in many cases defective. However, the schedule was so tight that testing was forced to continue with the current design. Speeds were limited to 500 km/h (310 mph) when the second prototype flew on 22 December. This time, the stability problems proved to be more serious, and were found to be related to Dutch roll, which could be solved by reducing the dihedral. However, with the plane supposed to enter production within weeks, there was no time to change the design. A number of small changes were made instead, including adding lead ballast to the nose to move the centre of gravity more to the front of the plane, slightly increasing the size of the tail surfaces.

The third and fourth prototypes, which now used an "M" for "muster" (model) number instead of the older "V-for-Versuchs" (experimental) number, as the He 162 M3 and M4, after being fitted with the strengthened wings, flew in mid-January 1945. These versions also included small aluminium wingtip "droops", reportedly designed by Alexander Lippisch and known in German as Lippisch-Ohren ("Lippisch Ears"), in an attempt to cure the stability problems via decreased dihedral. Both were equipped with two 30 mm (1.18 in) MK 108 cannons in the He 162 A-1 anti-bomber variant; in testing, the recoil from these guns proved to be too much for the lightweight fuselage to handle, and plans for production turned to the A-2 fighter with two 20 mm MG 151/20 cannons instead while a redesign for added strength started as the A-3. The shift to 20 mm guns was also undertaken because the smaller-calibre weapons would allow a much greater amount of ammunition to be carried.

The He 162 was originally built with the intention of being flown by the Hitler Youth, as the Luftwaffe was fast running out of pilots. However, the aircraft was far too complicated for any but a highly experienced pilot. An unpowered two-seat glider version, designated the He 162S (Schulen), was developed for training purposes. Only a small number were built, and even fewer delivered to the sole He 162 Hitler Youth training unit to be activated (in March 1945) at an airbase at Sagan. The unit was in the process of formation when the war ended, did not begin any training, and it is doubtful that more than one or two He 162S gliders ever took to the air.

Airplane Picture - The Hinterbrxhl underground production was captured in April 1945

Picture - The Hinterbrxhl underground production was captured in April 1945

Various changes had raised the weight over the original 2,000 kg (4,410 lb) limit, but even at 2,800 kg (6,170 lb), the aircraft was still the fastest jet aircraft in the air at 890 km/h (550 mph) at sea level, with speeds reaching 905 km/h (562 mph) at 6,000 m (19,690 ft).

He 162 construction facilities were at Salzburg, the Hinterbrxhl, and the Mittelwerk.


In January 1945, the Luftwaffe formed an Erprobungskommando 162 ("Test Unit 162") evaluation group to which the first 46 aircraft were delivered. The group was based at the Luftwaffe test center at Rechlin and it is frequently stated that this unit was under the command of Heinz Bxr. Bxr, an experienced combat pilot credited with more than 200 kills, gained 16 of his victories with Me 262 as commander of operational training unit III./Ergxnzungs-Jagdgeschwader 2 (EJG 2). However, Bxr's personal documents do not confirm his presence at Erprobungskommando 162 or if he ever flew He 162s.

February saw deliveries of the He 162 to its first operational unit, I./JG 1 (1st Group of Jagdgeschwader 1 - "1st Fighter Wing"), which had previously flown the Focke-Wulf Fw 190A. I./JG1 was transferred to Parchim, which, at the time, was also a base for the Me 262-equipped Jagdgeschwader 7, near the Heinkel factory at "Marienehe" (today known as Rostock-Schmarl, northwest of the Rostock city centre), where the pilots could pick up their new jets and start intensive training beginning in March, all while the transportation network, aircraft production facilities and fuel supply of the Third Reich was collapsing under the pressure of Allied air attacks. On 7 April, the USAAF bombed the field at Parchim with 134 B-17 Flying Fortresses, inflicting serious losses and damage to the infrastructure. Two days later, I./JG1 moved to an airfield at nearby Ludwigslust and, less than a week later, moved again to an airfield at Leck, near the Danish border. On 8 April, II./JG1 moved to Marienehe and started converting from Fw 190As to He 162s. III./JG1 was also scheduled to convert to the He 162, but the Gruppe disbanded on 24 April and its personnel were used to fill in the vacancies in other units.

The He 162 finally saw combat in mid-April. On 19 April, a captured Royal Air Force fighter pilot informed his German interrogators that he had been shot down by a jet fighter matching the description of the He 162. The Heinkel and its pilot were lost as well, shot down by an RAF Hawker Tempest while on approach. Though still in training, I./JG 1 had scored a number of kills beginning in mid-April, but had also lost 13 He 162s and 10 pilots. 10 of the aircraft were operational losses, caused by flameouts and sporadic structural failures. Only two of the 13 aircraft were actually shot down. The He 162's 30-minute fuel capacity also caused problems, as at least two of JG 1's pilots were killed attempting emergency landings after exhausting their fuel.

Airplane Picture - Captured He 162

Picture - Captured He 162

In the last days of April, as the Soviet troops approached, II./JG 1 evacuated from Marienehe and on 2 May joined the I./JG 1 at Leck. On 3 May, all of JG 1's surviving He 162s were restructured into two groups, I. Einsatz ("Combat") and II. Sammel ("Collection"). All JG 1's aircraft were grounded on 5 May, when General Admiral Hans-Georg von Friedeburg signed the surrender of all German armed forces in the Netherlands, Northwest Germany and Denmark. On 6 May, when the British reached their airfields, JG 1 turned their He 162s over to the Allies, and examples were shipped to the US, Britain, France, and the USSR for further evaluation. Erprobungskommando 162 fighters, which had been passed on to JV 44, an elite jet unit under Adolf Galland a few weeks earlier, were all destroyed by their crews to keep them from falling into Allied hands. By the time of the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945, 120 He 162s had been delivered; a further 200 had been completed and were awaiting collection or flight-testing; and about 600 more were in various stages of production.

Airplane Picture - Captured He 162 in France

Picture - Captured He 162 in France

The difficulties experienced by the He 162 were caused mainly by its rush into production, not by any inherent design flaws. One experienced Luftwaffe pilot who flew it called it a "first-class combat aircraft." This opinion was mirrored by Eric "Winkle" Brown of the Fleet Air Arm (FAA), who flew it not only during post-war evaluations, but went on to fly it for fun after testing had completed. He considered it delightful to fly, although the very light controls made it suitable only for experienced pilots. He wrote about his 162 flights in Wings of the Luftwaffe, a description that has been reprinted in many media over the years. Brown had been warned to treat the rudder with suspicion due to a number of in-flight failures. This warning was passed on by Brown to RAF pilot, Flt Lt R A Marks, but was apparently not heeded. One of the fin and rudder assemblies broke off at the start of a low-level roll, during the Farnborough Air Show, causing the aircraft to crash before the ejection seat could be employed, killing Marks.

He 162 Mistel

The Mistel series of fighter/powered bomb composite ground-attack aircraft pre-dated the He 162 by over two years, and the Mistel 5 project study in early 1945 proposed the mating of an He 162A-2 to the Arado E.377A flying bomb. The fighter would sit atop the bomb, which would itself be equipped with two wing-mounted BMW 003 turbojets. This ungainly combination would take off on a sprung trolley with all three jets running. Immediately after take-off, the trolley would be jettisoned, and the Mistel would then fly to within strike range of the designated target. Upon reaching this point, the bomb would be aimed squarely at the target and then released, with the jet turning back for home. The Mistel 5 remained a "paper project", as the Arado bomb never progressed beyond the blueprint stage.


He 162 A-0 - first ten pre-production aircraft.
He 162 A-1 - armed with 2 x 30 mm (1.18 in) MK 108 cannons with 50 rounds per gun.
He 162 A-2 - armed with 2 x 20 mm MG 151/20 cannons, 120 rpg.
He 162 A-3 - proposed upgrade with reinforced nose mounting twin 30 mm MK 108 cannons.
He 162 A-8 - proposed upgrade with the more powerful Jumo 004D-4 engine.
He 162 B-1 - a proposed follow on planned for 1946, to include more powerful Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011A turbojet, a stretched fuselage to provide more fuel and endurance as well as increased wingspan, with proper dihedral and discarding the anhedral wingtip extensions. To be armed with twin 30 mm (1.18 in) MK 108s.

The He 162B airframe was also used as the basis for possible designs powered by one or two Argus As 044 pulsejet engines.

He 162C - proposed upgrade featuring the B-series fuselage, Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011A engine, swept wing, a new V-tail stabilizing surface assembly, and twin 30 mm (1.18 in) MK 108s featuring a Schrxge Musik weapons assembly, located right behind the cockpit.
He 162D - proposed upgrade with a configuration similar to C-series but a forward-swept wing.
He 162E - He 162A fitted with the BMW 003R mixed power plant, a BMW 003A turbojet with an integrated BMW 718 liquid-fuel rocket engine - mounted just above the exhaust orifice of the turbojet - for boost power. At least one prototype was built and flight-tested for a short time.
He 162S - two-seat training glider.
Tachikawa Ki 162 - License-built of He 162A in Japan, projected with Lorin ramjet and Argus pulsejet for first design.


Nazi Germany



An He 162 A-2 (Werk Nummer 120227) of JG 1 is on display at the Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon, London.
An He 162 A-2 (Werk Nummer 120077) is currently owned by the Planes of Fame Museum and on static display Chino, California. Rumor has it this aircraft was for sale and was purchased by a German museum. This aircraft was sent to the USA in 1945 where it was given the designation FE-489 (Foreign Equipment 489) and later T-2-489.
An He 162 A-2 (Werk Nummer 120230), thought to have been flown by Oberst Herbert Ihlefeld of 1./JG 1, is currently owned by the U.S. National Air and Space Museum. This He 162 is currently fitted with the tail unit from Werk Nummer 120222
Two He 162 A-2s (Werk Nummer 120086 and 120076) were owned by Canada Aviation Museum, 120086 is disassembled. Werk Nummer 120076 was traded to Aero Vintage in the UK for a Bristol Fighter (G-AANM, D-7889) in December 2006. Investigations are currently being made into the practicality of an airworthy restoration of Werk Nummer 120076. Aircraft in Profile 203 reports both aircraft as having being refurbished in Canada in the 1960s.
An He 162 A-1 (Werk Nummer 120235) is displayed hanging from the ceiling of The Imperial War Museum in London.
An He 162 A-2 (Werk Nummer 120015) formerly of III./JG1, is currently under restoration at the Muse de l'Air et de l'Espace near Paris, France.
An He 162 is most likely in storage of the Smithsonian Museum (Werk Nummer 120222, Air Force number T-2-504).

Wk. Nmr. 120227, RAF Museum, London

Wk. Nmr. 120235, Imperial War Museum, London


He 162, Wings of Eagles Discovery Center, Big Flats, New York, USA, http://www.wingsofeagles.com

Specifications (He 162)

Data from

General characteristics

Crew: 1, pilot
Length: 9.05 m (29 ft 8 in)
Wingspan: 7.2 m (23 ft 7 in)
Height: 2.6 m (8 ft 6 in)
Wing area: 14.5 m (156 ft)
Empty weight: 1,660 kg (3,660 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 2,800 kg (6,180 lb)
Powerplant: 1x BMW 003E-1 or E-2 (meant for ventral attachment) axial flow turbojet, 7.85 kN (1,760 lbf)


Maximum speed: 905 km/h (562 mph)
Range: 975 km (606 mi)
Service ceiling: 12,000 m (39,400 ft)
Rate of climb: 1,405 m/min (4,615 ft/min)


Guns: 2 x 20 mm MG 151 cannons with 120 rpg (He 162 A-2) OR 2 x 30 mm MK 108 cannons with 50 rpg (He 162 A-0, A-1)

Comparable aircraft

Henschel Hs 132
de Havilland Vampire

Related lists

List of World War II military aircraft of Germany
List of World War II jet aircraft
List of fighter aircraft


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Heinkel He 162 Pictures and Heinkel He 162 for Sale.

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