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Heinkel He 111Z (Zwilling)

Nazi Germany (1942)
Picture of Heinkel He 111Z (Zwilling) Utility Transport Aircraft

The dual-fuselage, five-engine Heinkel He 111 Zwilling was specifically designed as a heavy transport powerful enough to tow the large Messerschmitt Me 321 cargo gliders.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Heinkel He 111Z (Zwilling) Utility Transport Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 6/16/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The He 111 Z (or "Zwilling") was a relatively successful joining of two He 111 medium-class bombers (detailed elsewhere on this site) to bring together an existing airframe designs suitable to transport the massive Messerschmitt Me 321 cargo glider. The He 111 Z became a possible solution with the intent that a large wing area with five installed powerplants would prove sufficient. Externally, the creation appeared as nothing more than two He 111 airframes joined at a common wing section with an extra (fifth) engine fitted to the joining structure.

A pair of twin-engine He 111 H-6's served as base conversion models for the new Heinkel Zwilling design. Two He 111 Z prototypes were then constructed with the He 111 H-6's joined by a center wing chord structure containing the fifth engine. The design was sound on the whole when evaluated by pilots at Rechlin and this resulted in ten production He 111 Z's ordered. The portside fuselage accommodated the pilot, primary mechanic, dedicated gunner and a radio operator/navigator while the starboard fuselage held the co-pilot, secondary mechanic and another gunner bringing the total crew count to seven (the co-pilot could double as a navigator if the situation pressed). The pilot was afforded full instrumentation while the co-pilot was given only a limited instrument panel. As such there was no real redundancy to the system as one might expect in such a design arrangement. The pilot was afforded five throttle levers for complete control over the five engine installations. Control for the radiator flaps was divided between the port and starboard cockpits with each man having control of the radiator flaps to his own side. Undercarriage control could be handled by either cockpit. Self-defense was managed through a variety of machine gun arrangements mostly centering on 7.7mm MG and/or 13mm MG machine guns as well as 20mm cannons. Armament varied, however, and was primarily dependent on what the "donor" He 111 H-6 airframe selected for conversion.

The engine configuration was made up of 5 x Junkers Jumo 211F 12-cylinder, liquid-cooled, inverted Vee engines of up to 1,340 horsepower each. These engines were fitted across five individual nacelles along the wing leading edge, three found at the center wing chord and two held outboard to either side of their respective fuselage in the usual way. Despite this multi-engined layout, the He 111 Z was still somewhat underpowered when attempting to pull a fully-loaded Me 321 glider. This was rectified through the utilization of rockets for additional thrust (RATO - "Rocket Assisted Take-Off") - not a wholly uncommon sight found at the beginning of the jet age. The Zwilling could, however, maintain flight if any or all of the three central wing cord engines failed - certainly showcasing the importance of the outboard engines. Range could be augmented by up to four external drop tanks which supplied the design its needed endurance.

By the end of the war, only four He 111 Zwillings were known to exist in operational condition despite some 12 total ultimately produced. The unaccounted for Zwillings were reportedly lost to Allied action while either in the air or still grounded. In any case, the Zwilling proved a (limited) success for it was quite capable of ferrying dozens of injured while being able to supply the massive Messerschmitt Me 321 gliders with a much-needed glider tug.

Several production marks of the He 111 Z were planned though only the original He 111 Z-1 ever saw any level of quantitative manufacture while the proposed Z-2 long-range bomber and Z-3 long-range reconnaissance platform never came to fruition. Both variants would have been based on the work already completed through the Z-1 production initiative.

Any available statistics for the Heinkel He 111Z (Zwilling) Utility Transport Aircraft are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 300mph
Lo: 150mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (296mph).

    Graph average of 225 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Heinkel He 111Z (Zwilling)'s operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
12
12


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
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  Compare this entry against other aircraft using our Comparison Tool  
National Flag Graphic
Origin: Nazi Germany
Year: 1942
Type: Utility Transport Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Heinkel - Germany
Production: 12
Status: Retired, Out-of-Service
Global Operators:
Nazi Germany
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Heinkel He 111Z (Zwilling) model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
7 to 9


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
54.79 ft


Meters
16.7 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
115.49 ft


Meters
35.2 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
13.12 ft


Meters
4 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
47,399 lb


Kilograms
21,500 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
62,556 lb


Kilograms
28,375 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
5 x Junkers Jumo 211F-2 inverted V-12 liquid-cooled engines developing 1,300 horsepower each.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
296 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
477 kph


Knots
258 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
1,174 mi


Kilometers
1,890 km


Nautical Miles
1,021 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
16,010 ft


Meters
4,880 m


Miles
3.03 mi

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Armament - Hardpoints (4):

Variable. Mix of 7.7mm and 13mm machine guns with the occasional 20mm cannon depending on what was kept from the original base aircraft utilized for the conversions.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• He 111 H-6 - Base He 111 series medium bomber model on which the "Zwilling" is based on.
• He 111 Z - Model Series and Prototype Models Designation; 2 examples produced.
• He 111 Z-1 - "Zwilling" twin He 111 fuselage model; heavy-lift transport model; 10 examples produced.
• He 111 Z-2 - Proposed Long-Range Bomber Variant based on the production Z-1 model; never produced.
• He 111 Z-3 - Proposed Long-Range Reconnaissance Variant based on the production Z-1 model; never produced.