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Henschel Hs 126


Two-Seat Light Observation / Reconnaissance Aircraft


Nazi Germany | 1937



"The Henschel Hs 126 served the German Luftwaffe of World War 2 well in the early-going but was superseded by the more impressive Fieseler Fi 156 before the end."



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 01/16/2017 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
Aerial warfare in the 20th Century involved active use of very-light aircraft as the type typically provided excellent short-field performance and were generally of inherently rugged design. This gave them the ability to operate near contested frontlines and provide priceless observation or artillery-direction capabilities to the Army. The category was evolved considerably heading into World War 2 (1939-1945) where several classic designs ultimately emerged. During the pre-war period, the German Luftwaffe invested in the Henschel Hs 126 for the role and this series was officially introduced in 1937 and saw production into 1941. Other operators of the design included Croatia, Estonia, Greece and Spain.

The Hs 126 was designed with a braced high-wing monoplane and its undercarriage was fixed while sporting spatted wheels. The crew of two sat in tandem under a framed canopy offering generally excellent views (the rear position was open-air). The fuselage was tubular, no thicker at any part than the Bramo 323 series 9-cylinder radial piston engine of 850 horsepower fitted to the nose and driving the three-bladed propeller. If armed, the Hs 126 typically carried a fixed 7.92mm MG 17 machine gun operated by the pilot and a trainable 7.92mm MG 15 machine gun managed by the observer. In addition to this, a modest bomb load of 330 lb was also possible.

Performance included a maximum speed of 220mph with a range out to 620 miles and a service ceiling reaching 28,000 feet. This gave the aircraft good range and vision over-the-horizon. The high-mounted wing appendages aided short-field operation and the basic arrangement of the main landing gear legs gave them good rough-field performance.

Design-wise, the Hs 126 was influenced by the earlier Hs 122 offering. As was the case with other hopeful Luftwaffe designs during the late-interwar period, the Hs 126 had a test form constructed for evaluation by the air service. Three prototypes were completed, mainly due to inadequacies of their earlier counterparts, and this ultimately led to a ten-strong pre-production order for 1937. Service entry followed in 1938 and the type was fielded as part of the German "Condor Legion" contingent in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) where it was effectively trialled under operational conditions (as were other German weapons).

In service, the Hs 126 gave excellent short-ranged reconnaissance performance in the early-going of World War 2 (some were used in direct strafing actions when needed). However, the series was ultimately superseded by the more-capable Fieseler Fi 156 "Storch" detailed elsewhere on this site. Despite losing its frontline duties by 1942, the Hs 126 was retained in secondary roles like target-tugging and nocturnal light attacker and flew for a while longer.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Henschel Hs 126 Two-Seat Light Observation / Reconnaissance Aircraft.
1 x Bramo 323 9-cylinder radial piston engine developing 850 horsepower.
Propulsion
221 mph
356 kph | 192 kts
Max Speed
27,986 ft
8,530 m | 5 miles
Service Ceiling
621 miles
1,000 km | 540 nm
Operational Range
1,800 ft/min
549 m/min
Rate-of-Climb
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Structure
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Henschel Hs 126 Two-Seat Light Observation / Reconnaissance Aircraft.
2
(MANNED)
Crew
35.8 ft
10.90 m
O/A Length
47.6 ft
(14.50 m)
O/A Width
12.5 ft
(3.80 m)
O/A Height
4,475 lb
(2,030 kg)
Empty Weight
6,834 lb
(3,100 kg)
MTOW
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
RANGE
ALT
SPEED
Armament
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Henschel Hs 126 Two-Seat Light Observation / Reconnaissance Aircraft .
OPTIONAL:
1 x 7.92mm MG 17 machine gun in fixed, forward-firing mounting.
1 x 7.92mm MG 15 machine gun on trainable mounting.

Up to 330lb of conventional drop stores.
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the Henschel Hs 126 family line.
Hs 126 - Base Series Designation
Hs 126A-1 - Major production model
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Henschel Hs 126. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 100 Units

Contractor(s): Henschel Flugzeugwerke A.G. - Nazi Germany
National flag of Croatia National flag of Estonia National flag of modern Germany National flag of Nazi Germany National flag of Greece National flag of Spain

[ Croatia; Estonia; Nazi Germany; Greece; Spain ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 300mph
Lo: 150mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (221mph).

Graph Average of 225 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
100
36183
44000
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
EarlyYrs
WWI
Interwar
WWII
ColdWar
Postwar
Modern
Future
1 / 1
Image of the Henschel Hs 126
Image from the Public Domain.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
RECONNAISSANCE
Recognition
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Henschel Hs 126 Two-Seat Light Observation / Reconnaissance Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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