Heinkel He 70 (Blitz) Reconnaissance Bomber / Transport Aircraft
For its time, the Heinkel He 70 was a fast reconnaissance bomber but limited in what it could carry.
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The Heinkel 70 (Blitz) was originally born out of a need for a speedy aeroplane charged with "fast" mail delivery for the Deutsche Lufthansa company. Lufthansa was in the market for such a platform to best performance of the six-passenger monoplane Lockheed Vegas and Model 9 Orions over short distances. In the end, the Heinkel engineers delivered an excellent product that would quickly set eight world speed records, covering speed-over-distance. Some He 70s would later see combat actions in the Spanish Civil War with the fabled German "Condor Legion". Regardless, the type was quickly overtaken by more impressive breeds worldwide by the time of World War 2.
Heinkel delivered a proposal to Lufthansa that ultimately became the firm's He 70 design. The aircraft utilized a wing concept as brought about by the Gunther brothers, the pair now having joined the Heinkel bureau. As speed was the call of the day, landing gears would be made wholly retractable, rivets would be countersunk to leave a smooth aerodynamic finish and the design would be highly streamlined complete with rounded wing edges. First flight was recorded on December 1st, 1932, and its general responsiveness was highly promising while performance proved excellent. Standard operating crew for the aircraft were two personnel (pilot and navigator seated in tandem). Cabin space was such that cargo or up to four passengers could be ferried about. In the latter role, luggage could be stored safely in an aft compartment and seating for the four was arranged in two pairs of seats - the seat rows to face one another. Power was derived from a single BMW VI series V12 liquid-cooled engine. Of note to this powerplant was that it was cooled by ethylene glycol as opposed to water or other means - this being a design decision by Heinkel engineers and required a smaller radiator, further relieving the airframe of excess weight. The He 70a became the first prototype followed by the He 70b passenger prototype. The He 70c served as a gunnery trial platform while the fourth was produced for Lufthansa with the BMW engine. Likewise, the fifth prototype went to the Luftwaffe as a light bomber with the BMW engine.
The He 70 sported a clean design, consistent with Heinkel standards. The engine was fitted to the extreme forward end of slim duralumin monocoque fuselage and mounted low. When viewed head on, the forward fuselage displayed a rectangular shape, culminating in a rounded body and rounded empennage. The crew compartment was fitted ahead of amidships under a framed contoured canopy and was interestingly offset to the portside ever so slightly. The low cantilever wings, constructed of spruce and plywood, were elliptical in shape and arranged in a low-wing monoplane format also ahead of amidships. The empennage tapered off to a point to which a round-edge vertical fin sat. Stabilizers were affixed to the empennage sides at the extreme rear. While the He 70 maintained two retractable main landing gear legs, there was no tail wheel - just a tail skid. In all, the Heinkel He 70 was a pleasing design full of streamlining and contours.
Production of the civilian airliner model reached 28 examples with 14 delivered to Lufthansa. The initial passenger model became the He 70A followed by the He 70D and He 70G. At its inception, the He 70 was an impressive aircraft, essentially modern by early 1930s standards - fast and adaptable to multiple roles. Lufthansa managed its fleetfrom 1934 to 1937 with several routes across Germany opened. Despite its impressiveness, the He 70 would lead a relatively short civilian-minded life before being replaced by larger aircraft that could ferry more passengers, luggage and associated goods from place to place. Additionally, the Luftwaffe found a need for the fast monoplane by 1935 and its military value soon grew.