The Horten Ho 229 was essentially a German bomber prototype built at the end of World War II.

This is Horten Ho-229. You will be surprised to know that this is a design built during the Second World War. The Horten Ho 2 29 is considered the world’s first stealth bomber. It possesses a completely different design from its contemporaries. During its maiden flight in March 1944, the Ho 2 29 quickly proved its superiority.

The Horten Ho 229 was essentially a German bomber prototype built at the end of World War II. It became the first production form of any aircraft to be classified as a true “flying wing” – that is an aircraft not relying on any sort of vertical tail surfaces to achieve flight and maneuverability.

The design was a response to Hermann Göring’s call for a bomber that could carry 1,000 kg of bombs at a range of 1,000 km. Only jets could provide the speed, but these were extremely fuel-hungry, so considerable effort had to be made to meet the range requirement. Based on a flying wing, the Ho 2 29 lacked all extraneous control surfaces to lower drag. It was the only design to come even close to the requirements, and received Göring’s approval. Its ceiling was 15,000 metres.

Flying wings featuring a lack of vertical implements theoretically offered some inherent advantages by the deletion of such surfaces thus reducing drag to an extent. In a flying wing design, the fuselage was generally integrated into the wing roots for a very streamlined approach adding to effective aerodynamic principles. A larger wing surface area also promoted a better rate-of-climb, a larger fuel load, and a larger bomb load. A first glider mock-up test, and the actual prototype test flight, were both conducted in 1944. Even though lacking in vertical stabilizers, performance was reported to be excellent, though an accident did happen on the third flight, due to an engine failure. The only surviving Ho 2 29 airframe, the V3, and the only surviving World War II-era German jet prototype still in existence, has been at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Paul E. Garber Restoration Facility in Suitland, Maryland, U.S. In December 2011. As of early 2018, the surviving Horten Ho 229 has been moved to display in the main hall, alongside other WWII German aircraft.


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