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Heinkel HE 5

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Heinkel HE 5

HE 5
Swedish Air Force HE 5 S5C
Role Reconnaissance floatplane
National origin Germany
Manufacturer Heinkel, Svenska, Focke-Wulf, Swedish Air Force
First flight 1926
Primary user Swedish Air Force

The Heinkel HE 5, produced in Sweden as the Svenska S 5 and nicknamed the "Hansa", was a reconnaissance floatplane built during the 1920s. It was a further development of the HE 1, sharing its same basic configuration as a low-wing, strut-braced monoplane. The HE 5 also built upon Heinkel's experiences of mixed construction as used on the HE 4, having a fuselage structure of fabric-covered steel tube, and wooden wings largely skinned in alloy. The usual crew carried was just two, pilot and observer seated in tandem, open cockpits; however, some HE 5s also had a third cockpit which could be used to carry a trainee.

Two prototypes were built in 1926, and after initial testing were entered in the German seaplane trials at Warnemünde, winning first and second places in the speed trials. The Swedish Air Force soon ordered the type to supplement the HE 1s, HE 2s, and HE 4 that it had acquired when it took over Swedish naval aviation in 1926, and eventually 40 HE 5s were built under licence by Svenska Aero.

In 1927, the Soviet Union also ordered the aircraft, to replace the obsolete flying boats then in service. A prototype was tested on the Black Sea in March the following year, where it was discovered that the aircraft's performance was significantly lower than had been specified by Heinkel. Modifications were made to a second prototype, and this was flight tested in November. This led to an order in quantity soon thereafter, but they did not remain in service long, being phased out by 1930.

In Germany, however, the type remained in service until 1933, with machines licence-built by Focke-Wulf equipping clandestine naval aviation units disguised as training schools for airlines.

Two HE 5s are preserved in museums - one at the Flygvapenmuseum in Linköping, and one at the Muzeum Lotnictwa Polskiego in Kraków.




  • S 5 - Bristol Jupiter-powered two-seater (4 built by Svenska Aero)
  • S 5A - S 5 with three seats and a radio set (12 built by Svenska Aero, plus 10 built by Swedish Air Force itself)
  • S 5B - version with Nohab-built Bristol Pegasus engine (1 built by Swedish Air Force)
  • S 5C - refinement of S 5B with Townend ring, new cockpit and tail design, and new floats built by Short Brothers (9 built by Swedish Air Force)
  • S 5D - refinement of S 5C with more powerful engine and new propeller (4 built by Swedish Air Force)


 Soviet Union

Specifications (HE 5c)

General characteristics

  • Crew: Two, pilot and observer
  • Length: 12.18 m (40 ft 0 in)
  • Wingspan: 16.80 m (55 ft 1 in)
  • Height: 4.38 m (14 ft 4 in)
  • Wing area: 48.9 m2 (526 ft2)
  • Empty weight: 2,000 kg (4,409 lb)
  • Gross weight: 2,900 kg (6,393 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × BMW VI, 360 kW (480 hp)


  • Maximum speed: 200 km/h (125 mph)
  • Service ceiling: 5,500 m (18,045 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 4.8 m/s (930 ft/min)
  • 1 × fixed, forward-firing 7.7 mm (.303 in) Vickers machine gun
  • 2 × trainable, rearward-firing 7.7 mm (.303 in) Lewis Guns on ring mount for observer
  • 160 kg (350 lb) of bombs carried under rear fuselage
  • References

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