The Heinkel He 162

By Chris Banyai-Riepl

The Heinkel He 162 was one of the last gasps of the German Luftwaffe at the end of the Second World War. Designed to use minimal materials and supposedly to be flown by novice pilots, the He 162 proved to be a handful to fly and as such its impact was nearly non-existant. After the war several examples found their way into allied hands, with the British, French, American and Soviet forces all test-flying the type. This resulted in many ending up in museums, preserving this early jet.

'White 23'
WNr 120230 (later 120222)
JG 1, Leck, 1945

White 23 was one of three He 162s that was transported to the United States for evaluation. While it was being reassembled at Freeman Field in Indiana the tail assembly from a second He 162, WNr 120222, was attached, for reasons unknown. This aircraft is now on display at the National Air & Space Museum. Of the other two He 162s that went to the US, one is owned by Planes of Fame Museum in California and the other one was scrapped after structural testing sometime in the late 1940s.

'Yellow 3'
WNr 120021
II./JG 1, Leck, May 8, 1945

One of the many He 162s found at Leck at the end of the war. This plane shows a couple interesting features. First is the outline-style of swastika on the fin. Most of the other He 162s had a solid swastika. Also interesting is the fuselage cross, this one being a black cross with white outlines. Most of the other aircraft had just a simple black outline of a cross. The plane also features the II./JG 1 unit emblem on the nose.

'Black 27'
WNr 300027
Junkers Factory, Bernburg, 1945

This Heinkel He 162 was found outside the Junkers factory by Allied forces. Obviously unfinished, this plane's only distinguishing marks were the black numbers on the nose.

'Air Min 61'
WNr 120072
RAF, 1945

One of a handful of British He 162s, this plane featured an odd white nose. Careful inspection reveals spots where the German unit badge and number were removed from the aircraft, while the swastika on the tail appears to have been painted over. Note the different style of wingtip camouflage.

'VH513'
WNr 120098
RAF, 1945

Another British He 162, this one actually receiving a standard RAF serial of VH513. The German markings have been painted out, but for the most part it remains in the standard German camouflage.


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