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Autore: Alessandro
92290 Heinkel 280 V3 1:72 scale 

92290 Heinkel 280 V3 1:72 scale 

Originally called the He 180, the Heinkel He 280 was an early turbojet-powered fighter aircraft designed and produced by the German aircraft manufacturer Heinkel. It was the first jet fighter to fly in the world.

The He 280 harnessed the progress made by Hans von Ohain’s novel gas turbine propulsion and by Ernst Heinkel’s work on the He 178, the first jet-powered aircraft in the world. Heinkel placed great emphasis on research into high-speed flight and on the value of the jet engine; after the He 178 had met with indifference from the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM) (the German Reich Aviation Ministry), the company opted to start work on producing a jet fighter during late 1939. Incorporating a pair of turbojets, for greater thrust, these were installed in a mid-wing position. It also had a then-uncommon tricycle undercarriage while the design of the fuselage was largely conventional.

During the summer of 1940, the first prototype airframe was completed; however, it was unable to proceed with powered test flights due to development difficulties with the intended engine, the HeS 8. Thus, it was initially flown as a glider until suitable engines could be made available six months later. The lack of state support delayed engine development, thus setting back work on the He 280; nevertheless, it is believed that the fighter could have been made operational earlier than the competing Messerschmitt Me 262, and offered some advantages over it. On 22 December 1942, a mock dogfight performed before RLM officials saw the He 280 demonstrate its vastly superior speed over the piston-powered Focke-Wulf Fw 190; shortly thereafter, the RLM finally opted to place an order for 20 pre-production test aircraft to precede a batch of 300 production standard aircraft.

However, engine development continued to be a thorn in the side of the He 280 program. During 1942, the RLM had ordered Heinkel to abandon work on both the HeS 8 and HeS 30 to focus on the HeS 011. As the HeS 011 was not expected to be available for some time, Heinkel selected the rival BMW 003 powerplant; however, this engine was also delayed. Accordingly, the second He 280 prototype was re-engined with Junkers Jumo 004s. On 27 March 1943, Erhard Milch, Inspector-General of the Luftwaffe, ordered Heinkel to abandon work on the He 280 in favour of other efforts. The reason for this cancellation has been attributed to combination of both technical and political factors; the similar role of the Me 262 was certainly influential in the decision. Accordingly, only the nine test aircraft were ever built, at no point did the He 280 ever attain operational status or see active combat.