TYPE: Reconnaissance floatplane, trainer
ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only
POWER PLANT: One BMW VI 7,3 Z liquid-cooled engine, rated at 750 hp
PERFORMANCE: 205 mph
COMMENT: The Heinkel He 51 was a single-seat biplane which was produced in a number of different versions. It was initially developed as a fighter, it was also developed as a ground-attack aircraft and a floatplane.
In 1931, Heinkel Aircraft Company developed the Heinkel He 49, officially an advanced trainer in fact it was a fighter. The first prototype flew in November 1932, and was followed by two further prototypes with a longer fuselage, and a revised engine. The type was ordered into production for the still secret Luftwaffe as Heinkel He 51, the first pre-production aircraft flying in May 1933. Deliveries started in July of the next year.
The He 51 was a conventional single-bay biplane, with all-metal construction and fabric covering. It was powered by a BMW VI engine, with an armament of two machine guns mounted above the engine. The He 51 was intended to replace the earlier Arado Ar 65, but served side-by-side with the slightly later Arado Ar 68. The He 51 was outdated the day it entered service, and after an initial run of 150 production fighters, the design was switched into the modified He 51B, with approximately 450 built, including about 46 He 51B-2 floatplanes. With begin of WW II the Heinkel He 51B-2 was only used in a role as trainer (Ref.: 24).