August 30, 2013 in Aviation
The Heinkel He-280 was the world’s first twin engine jet fighter. She flew in early 1941 and proved she was a real thoroughbred, but was shelved due to military jealousy. You see, Willie Messerschmidt was in tight with Goering, and Heinkel was not. The project was mothballed and Heinkel was told to go back to building bombers! Can you imagine the allied chagrin if waves of Heinkel jets were overwhelming the allied bomber streams in ’43? Instead, it would take years for the Me-262 to enter combat, and then it was too little, too late.
Take note of the signature Heinkel designed wing and twin tails, which would later appear again in the much larger prop driven He-219 night fighter. Heinkel must have gotten the last laugh when the UHU became what was arguably the finest night fighter of the war. “Build bombers,” he says. Huh . . . .
I have chosen to present this what-might-have-been aircraft in the markings and colors of that aerial juggernaut, Bulgaria (aka the “Malcolm X Airforce”). Germany had a way of shuttling her lesser light aircraft to their allies. I can see Goering with a final slap at Heinkel by sending this craft to the least of all her satellites.
Eduard’s kit of the He-280 may be getting long in the tooth but it was a joy to build. Her plastic is from a time when Eduard produced limited run kits with thick sprues and gates, and no locating pins. The kit does come with some basic PE, which certainly helps out the otherwise spartan interior. Nonetheless, the finished product is comparatively easy to accomplish.
PS The Bulgarians never had the 280. It languished in some hanger for years. Despite that I presented this at my monthly model meeting with the explanation given above. I was tickled by the hushed whispers of, “Wow. I didn’t know the Bulgarians flew jets!” LoL
6 additional images. Click to enlarge