Aviation of World War II

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He 51B1



He 51

Several German military aircraft were brought from Spain for examination. Some were so badly damaged that they had to be examined on the ground, while others were restored and test flown. They even took part in simulated air combat with Soviet fighters. In 1937-1938, Air Forces Scientific Research Institute specialists familiarized themselves with He 51 and Bf 109 (with Jumo 210 engine) fighters, as well as Ju 52, Ju 86, and He 111 bombers.

In general, the results of testing gave some hope: the flight characteristics of the Soviet aircraft exceeded -those of German planes. As proof, I will provide a few excerpts from Scientific Research Institute reports on the results of the simulated air combat.

1. He 51 fighter (designated 1-25, flown by Stefanovskiy in 1938 in the USSR): Despite its low speed (315 km/h), the 1-25 can engage in active defensive combat against 1-16, M25, DI-6, and DI-6Sh airplanes and be successful in a surprise attack on SB, DB-3, and R-9 planes, but it cannot retain the combat initiative. In combat against the 1-16, the latter has all the advantages".

He.51B-1 He.51B-2
Crew 1
Wing span, m 11
Wing area, m² 27.2
Length, m 8.4 9.1
Height, m 3.3 3.9
Weight, kg:
Empty 1,474 1,526
Loaded weight 1,900 1,970
1xPE BMW-VI-7,3Z    
Power, hp 750 750
Maximum speed, km/h Speed km/h 310 295
at altitude, m 4000 2000
Cruising speed, km/h Speed km/h 258 262
at altitude, m 4000 2000
Time to altitude 4000m min 7.8 9.1
Service ceiling, m 7700 7400
Service range, km 570 550
7.9-mm G-17 cannon with 500 cartridges 2 2
Photo Description
Drawing He-51B1

Drawing He-51B1

The He 51B-1 from Spain undergoing testing in the Soviet Union, 1938

The He 51B-1 from Spain undergoing testing in the Soviet Union, 1938.


  • "Aviation of Luftwaffe" /Viktor Shunkov/
  • "The German Imprint on the History of Russian Aviation " /D.A. Sobolev, D.B. Khazanov/
  • "Encyclopedia of military engineering" /Aerospace Publising/