Heinkel HD 23: Too many extras…

This bulky biplane was Heinkel company’s first true fighter design. Ordered by the Japanese Aichi company, the HD 23 was conceived to compete in a Japanese navy carrier-based fighter competition. The main peculiarity of this otherwise Heinkel’s through and through model was that it was conceived to ditch easily in emergencies thanks, besides other things, to its boat-shaped fuselage and jettisonable undercarriage chassis. A potential 24 hours flotation capability was also guaranteed. Heinkel produced only one(?) prototype (first flight in 1927) and shipped it to Japan where the Aichi company added two more. Too heavy and clumsy, the so-called Aichi type H never saw series production.

The imposing nose of the German prototype with its BMW V1 (the Japanese used Hispano-Suiza 12ha) and “very German” laminated wooden propeller.


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