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Ernst Heinkel

Premier German Aeronautical


Born Grunbach, Germany

January 24, 1888—January 30, 1959

Ernst Heinkel completed four years of engineering study at the Technical Institute of Stuttgart. While still a student there in 1910, he constructed and flew an airplane of his own design. Within three years he had advanced to Chief Engineer of a major aircraft company and had completed many successful aircraft designs by the end of 1918.

World records and first flights were routine accomplishments of this renowned aircraft and engine designer whose active career in aeronautics spanned five decades. Dr. Heinkel founded his own aircraft company in 1922. He was especially successful in the design and production of civilian and military aircraft for Germany and foreign countries. These aircraft were to set speed records and established Heinkel with a reputation for producing advanced and aerodynamically efficient aircraft.

The late 1930's were a particularly fruitful period in which he developed jet engines, coupled engines operating a single propeller, and the world's first true rocket plane. In 1939, he developed the world's first operational jet plane. In that year, the Heinkel 100 captured the world speed record of 463.919 miles per hour.

Following the end of hostilities in 1945, Dr. Heinkel entered into the production of engines and small land transportation vehicles before resuming the development of aircraft and jet engines.

Invested 1981 in the International Aerospace Hall of Fame

From "These We Honor," The International Hall of Fame; The San Diego Aerospace Museum, San Diego, CA. 1984

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Updated: March 12, 2004