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He 60
A Heinkel He 60 flies above the German Light cruiser Köln
Role Reconnaissance Seaplane
Manufacturer Heinkel
First flight Early 1933
Introduction 1933
Retired 1943
Primary users Luftwaffe

The Heinkel He 60 was a German single-engined biplane reconnaissance seaplane designed to be catapulted from Kriegsmarine (German Navy) warships of the 1930s.


Development and design

The Heinkel He 60 was designed by Heinkel engineer Reinhold Mewes, the designer of the He 59.[1] The resulting design was a single-engined biplane of mixed wood and metal construction with fabric covering. Its single bay wings were of equal-span and had significant stagger.[2]

The first prototype flew early in 1933 and proved to be underpowered with its 492 kW (660 hp) BMW VI engine. The second prototype had a more powerful version of the BMW engine, but this only marginally improved its performance and was unreliable, so production aircraft reverted to the original engine.[2][3] Of conventional configuration, the He 60 was a sturdy aircraft, designed (as the specification required) to be capable of operating on the open sea. As a result, it was always somewhat underpowered for its weight, which made handling sluggish and the aircraft vulnerable to enemy fire. Attempts were made to solve its lack of power by fitting one aircraft with a Daimler-Benz DB 600 engine, but engines were not available for production.[4]

Operational history

Initial deliveries of the He 60 were to Kriegsmarine training units in June 1933.[4] From 1934, the major production version, the He 60C began to be delivered to the shipboard floatplane units of the Kriegsmarine, operating from the catapults of all German cruisers.[5] It also saw action with Spanish Nationalist forces during the Civil War.[1]

In 1939 it was replaced as a shipboard aircraft first by the He 114 in service, then soon after by the Arado Ar 196, but it remained in service with several coast reconnaissance Staffeln (squadrons) when World War II began.[6] It had been withdrawn from front-line service by 1940, but returned to use following Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, being used for coastal patrol work in the Baltic and Mediterranean Seas. All He 60s were removed from service by October 1943.[1]


He 60a
First prototype.
He 60b
Second prototype.
He 60c
Third prototype.
He 60A
14 pre-production aircraft.
He 60B
Initial production version.
He 60B-3
One aircraft fitted with a 671 kW (900 hp) Daimler-Benz DB 600 engine.
He 60C
Improved version.
He 60D
Unarmed trainer version.


Spain Spanish State

Specifications (He 60)

Data from War Planes of the Second World War: Volume Six Floatplanes [5]

General characteristics

  • Crew: two (pilot and observer)
  • Length: 37 ft 8¾ in (11.50 m)
  • Wingspan: 44 ft 3¾ in (13.50 m)
  • Height: 17 ft 4¾ in (5.30 m)
  • Wing area: 603 ft² (56.0 m²)
  • Empty weight: 6,018 lb (2,735 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 7,495 lb (3,407 kg)
  • Powerplant:BMW VI 6.0 water-cooled V12 engine, 660 hp (492 kW)



See also

Related lists


  1. ^ a b c Donald 1994, p.97.
  2. ^ a b Smith and Kay 1972, p.229.
  3. ^ Green 1962, p.71
  4. ^ a b Green 1962, p.72.
  5. ^ a b Green 1962, p.73.
  6. ^ Smith and Kay 1972, p.231.
  • Donald, David (editor). Warplanes of the Luftwaffe. London:Aerospace Publishing, 1994. ISBN 1 874023 56 5.
  • Green, William. War Planes of the Second World War: Volume Six Floatplanes. London:Macdonald 1962.
  • Smith, J.R. and Kay, Antony L. German Aircraft of the Second World War. London:Putnam, 1972. ISBN 85177 836 4.

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