Aircraft Wiki
He 162
He162 color010
Role Fighter
Crew 1
Passengers None
First flight
Entered service
Manufacturer Heinkel
Length 29ft 8 1/3in 9.05m
Wingspan 23ft 7 1/2in 7.2m
Height 8ft 6 1/3in 2.6m
Wing area 120.56 sq ft 11.16 sq m
Empty (Equipped) 3,876lb 1,758kg
Loaded (Taxying) 6,409lb 2,907kg
Maximum takeoff 6,184lb 2.805kg
Engine One BMW 003E-1 Aixal Turbojet
Power (each) - Normal 1,764lb 800kg
Internal Fuel 232.2 Imp Gal 1055 Litres
External Fuel
Maximum speed 521mph at 19,690ft 838 kph at 6,000m
Cruising speed
Rate of climb

The Heinkel He 162 (also called "Volksjäger"; meaning "people´s fighter") was a German fighter aircraft developed in the final months of World War II in a very short time.


On 8th September 1944, it was announced that a new fighter aircraft, that should be cheap and quick to produce, must be developed; it was part of the Emergency Fighter program to develop the "People´s Fighter". The aircraft was to have good performance, was not not be heavier than two tons, and have a flight endurance of at least 30 minutes, and the maximum runway length had to be 500 m.

After studying the requirement, major aircraft manufacturers such as Messerschmitt and Focke-Wulf, together with leading fighter ace Adolf Galland, claimed that the whole idea was unsound. They stated that mass producing such an unproven aircraft, for operation by inexperienced pilots drawn from the Hitler Youth, while adopting a policy of replacing damaged and unserviceable aircraft with new ones, was unfeasible and unrealistic, and would detract from the war effort. Their counter propsal for putting greater effort into producing the Me 262 was ignored.[2]

After first conceptual designs of the Project 1073 were made, Heinkel received on 15th September 1944 the contract to built the He 162, and on 6th December 1944, 69 days later, the first flight on the Wien-Schwechat airport took place. The aircraft was flown by test pilot Peter Gotthol and reached a top speed of 800 km/h. On 10th December 1944 Peter Gotthold died in an accident while flying the He 162 on a demonstration flight at a speed of 700 km/h. In the crash report, it is written that the nose of the aircraft was the reason for the incident, as well as solidity problems. The aircraft was also eventually overstressed during nosedives and other extreme manoeuvres.

But the German Air Force still continued replacing metal with wood. Suddenly, the “Spatz”´s (Sparrow) top speed was limited to 600 km/h, so that it would be only allowed to exceed this speed in special situations, until a new adhesive was developed. During a test flight at a ceiling of 4 km, the He 162 reached a total maximum speed of 960 km/h.

Other Appearances[]

The He 162 is featured in the Nintendo DS game Freedom Wings.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Brown, Captain Eric M. 1997. Page 24 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Luftwaffe Wings P24" defined multiple times with different content
  2. World Aircraft Information Files Aviation Partwork. Midsummer Books Ltd. File 150 Sheet 1 (Heinkel He 162 'Salamander':Volksjager)