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He 280 file photo [9920]

He 280

ManufacturerHeinkel Flugzeugwerke
Primary RolePrototype Aircraft
Maiden Flight22 September 1940


ww2dbaseThe He 280 design was started by Heinkel on its own initiative to further its jet research program despite its previous jet fighter effort, the He 178 program, had largely been ignored by the German Aviation Ministry. The project was placed under the head designer Robert Lusser. The first prototype was completed in the summer of 1940, but delays in the jet engines forced the maiden flight, on 22 Sep, to be an unpowered one, testing its aerodynamics by gliding. On 30 Mar 1941, test pilot Fritz Schäfer conducted the first powered test flight with the second prototype example; this prototype aircraft became the first turbojet-powered fighter aircraft to fly in the history of aviation. A week later, on 5 Apr, a He 280 demonstration flight was conducted for Ernst Udet from the Aviation Ministry, who was not impressed. As Heinkel continued on with this project despite the lack of interest from the military, it was continuously plagued by engine problems, so much so that in 1942 the Aviation Ministry ordered the firm to abandon its HeS 8 and HeS 30 jet engine projects so that they could focus only on the HeS 011 jet engine project. The next major demonstration took place on 22 Dec 1942, where a mock dogfight was staged. It finally convinced the Aviation Ministry to issue an order for 20 aircraft for testing with a tentative order for 300 production aircraft should the first 20 be tested successfully. On 16 Mar 1943, a He 280 prototype aircraft took flight using a pair of a competitor's engines (Jumo 004 jet engines built by Junkers); although the test was relatively successful, the prototype's performance was lagging behind the Me 262 jet fighter built by Messerschmitt, which was equipped with the same Jumo 004 jet engines. On 27 Mar, the entire project was canceled on the order of Erhard Milch. Heinkel was ordered to focus on bomber development for the remainder of the war.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Apr 2010

He 280 Timeline

13 Jan 1942 A test pilot of the He 280 prototype aircraft encountered icing problems and was forced to use the aircraft's compressed air ejection seat to bail out. This was the first use of such emergency ejection system in the world.


He 280 V3
MachineryTwo Heinkel HeS 8 turbojet engines rated at 5.9kN each
Armament3x20mm MG 151/20 cannons
Span12.20 m
Length10.40 m
Height3.06 m
Wing Area21.50 m²
Weight, Empty3,215 kg
Weight, Loaded4,280 kg
Weight, Maximum4,300 kg
Speed, Maximum820 km/h
Service Ceiling10,000 m
Range, Normal370 km

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
13 Aug 2010 05:23:50 PM

Helmut Schenk, Luftwaffe test pilot used the
first ever ejection to escape from an aircraft.
He ejected from his disabled Heinkel He 290
V-1 jet fighter on January 14, 1942.

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