Category Archives: Reconnaissance

Reconnaissance

Arado Ar 231 (Airmodel, Vacu-formed)

TYPE: Observer, reconnaissance aircraft

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only

POWER PLANT: One Hirth HM 502 six-cylinder inverted inline engine, rated at 160 hp

PERFORMANCE: 106 mph

COMMENT: Designed from the outset for use on U-boat “cruisers”, like the Type XI B, the Ar 231 was a light parasol-wing aircraft. The aircraft was powered by an inline engine, weighed around 2,200 lb, and had a 33ft wingspan. The design led to a simple and compact aircraft that could be fitted into a storage cylinder only 6.7 ft in diameter. For ease of storage, the Ar 231’s wings featured detachable sections that two operators could remove in less than six minutes. One unusual feature was an offset wing design, with the right wing root attaching to the wing’s tilted center section (elevated above the fuselage, as on all parasol-wing designs) and lower than the left wing root, to allow the wings to be quickly folded up. Testing soon revealed the Ar 231s to be fragile, underpowered, and difficult to fly even during calm weather, and as a result, development ended in favour of the Focke-Achgelis Fa 330 gyro glider. Some of the testing was done on the auxiliary cruiser “Stier”. Only six prototypes were built (Ref.: 24).

Blohm & Voss Bv 238 V1, (Airmodel, Vacu)

TYPE: Long-range Transport, Maritime Patrol and Bomber Flying Boat

ACCOMMODATION: Crew of 12

POWER PLANT:  Six Daimler-Benz DB 603G, rated at 1,900 hp

PERFORMANCE: 264 mph at 19,685 ft

COMMENTS: First prototype flew in April 1944, but was sunk early 1945 by strafing Mustangs. At the end of WWII the second prototype was virtually complete and construction of the third was in an advanced stage

 

Heinkel He 114A-2 (Airmodel, Vacu)

TYPE: Reconnaissance floatplane

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot and observer

POWER PLANT: One BMW 132K radial engine, rated at 960 hp

PERFORMANCE: 208 mph

COMMENT: The Heinkel He 114 was a sesquiwing reconnaissance seaplane produced for the German Kriegsmarine (German Navy) in the 1930s for use from warships. It replaced the company’s Heinkel He 60, but did not remain in service long before being replaced in turn by the Arado Ar 196 as standard spotter aircraft.
While the fuselage  and flotation gear of the He 114 were completely conventional, its wing arrangement was highly unusual. The upper set of wings was attached to the fuselage with a set of cabane struts, as in a  parasol wing monoplane, whereas the lower set was of much lesser span while having approximately the same chord. This general layout is not especially unusual, and is known as a “Sesquiplane”, or a biplane which has a smaller lower wing. Typically, the lower wing is about 3/4 of the span of the upper wing, and has a smaller chord as well. The He 114 has a much shorter lower wing than usual, but has the same chord as the upper wing, which keeps the wing area ratio similar.
The He 114 was never a great success, was not built in large numbers, and served with the Luftwaffe for only a short time. While the Heinkel He 60 had handled very well on the water but been sluggish in the air, the He 114’s handling while afloat was poor and its performance in the air scarcely better than the aircraft it replaced (Ref.: 24).