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      Heinkel He 59 Reconnaissance / Attack Floatplane Aircraft  

    Heinkel He 59 Reconnaissance / Attack Floatplane Aircraft


    A pre-war design, the Heinkel He 59 floatplane biplane was outmatched heading into 1944 and did not survive in service long enough to see the end of the conflict.





     Updated: 4/3/2017; Authored By Langley Hester; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com


    Because of the restrictions heaped upon Germany after the close of World War 1 (1914-1918), its military buildup heading into World War 2 (1939-1945) was mostly handled in secrecy. Tanks were developed under the guise of farming equipment and aircraft were developed under civilian motives. The latter proved the case for the Heinkel 59, a maritime biplane that went on to serve the German military throughout most of the Second World War. 142 of the type were produced with a first flight recorded in September of 1931, a service introduction in 1935, and formal retirement coming in 1944. The He 59 was also a Battle of Britain (1940) veteran.

    The Heinkel concern of Germany was established in 1922 during the post-World War 1 years by Ernst Heinkel himself. In the 1930s, the German military was restructuring and growing in its capabilities by a variety of means. At the beginning of the decade, Heinkel was in development of a new biplane to interest the German Navy (Reichsmarine) under the guise (to the watching world) that it was a civilian-minded passenger/cargo hauler. This product became the He 59 and begat both a sea-based floatplane and land-based prototype as the He 59a and He 59b respectively. The land-based b-model product was the first to achieve flight between the two though the sea-based a-model became the definitive form.

    The aircraft featured a traditional biplane wing arrangement encompassing an upper and lower wing section braced by a network of struts and cabling. The fuselage was of a generally tubular shape though with slab-style side panels. A dual-engine configuration was accepted and these nacelles were set outboard of the fuselage within the bays of the biplane wing assembly. Open-air cockpits were featured for the standard operating crew of three to four personnel. The tail unit showcased a single vertical fin with low-set horizontal planes. Dimensionally, the He 59 became a relatively large seaplane with a running length of 57 feet, a wingspan of 77.8 feet, and a height of 23.3 feet. The floatplane version held two large pontoons as its undercarriage and these housed fuel stores as well. Overall construction of the aircraft was of fabric, steel, and wood. An internal bomb bay was also fitted.


    Heinkel He 59B Technical Specifications


    Service Year: 1935
    Type: Reconnaissance / Attack Floatplane Aircraft
    National Origin: Nazi Germany
    Manufacturer(s): Heinkel - Nazi Germany
    Production Total: 142



    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)


    Operating Crew: 3 or 4
    Length: 57.09 feet (17.4 meters)
    Width: 77.76 feet (23.70 meters)
    Height: 23.29 feet (7.10 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 11,045 lb (5,010 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 20,106 lb (9,120 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance


    Engine(s): 2 x BMW VI 12-cylinder liquid-cooled engines developing 660 horsepower each.

    Maximum Speed: 137 mph (220 kph; 119 knots)
    Maximum Range: 1,087 miles (1,750 km)
    Service Ceiling: 11,483 feet (3,500 meters; 2.17 miles)
    Rate-of-Climb: 660 feet-per-minute (201 m/min)

    Armament / Mission Payload


    STANDARD:
    1 x 7.92mm MG 15 machine gun in nose position
    1 x 7.92mm MG 15 machine gun in dorsal position
    1 x 7.92mm MG 15 machine gun in ventral position

    OPTIONAL:
    Up to 2,200lb of conventional drop ordnance (2 x 1,100lb OR 4 x 550lb OR 20 x 110lb bombs) OR 1 x 1,764lb torpedo.

    Global Operators / Customers


    Finland; Nazi Germany; Spain

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)


    He 59 - Base Series Designation

    He 59a - Initial one-off floatplane prototype

    He 59b - Initial one-off land-based prototype

    He 59A - Evaluation aircraft; 14 examples

    He 59B-1 - Pre-production aircraft; 16 examples

    He 59B-2 - Improved B-1 model

    He 59B-3 - Dedicated reconnaissance model

    He 59C-1 - Unarmed trainer variant

    He 59C-2 - Search and Rescue (SAR) variant

    He 59D-1 - Combination variant of C-1 and C-2 marks

    He 59E-1 - Torpedo Bomber Trainer

    He 59E-2 - Reconnaissance Trainer

    He 59N - Navigation Trainer; converted from existing D-1 production models.

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