Heinkel 64C (oz10949)


Heinkel 64C - plan thumbnail image

About this Plan

Heinkel 64C. Radio control scale model German 1930s light plane.

Quote: "Heinkel's entry into the International Light Plane Competition of the '30s was a big step for this rather conservative design firm, and it makes an excellent R/C scale subject. Heinkel 64C, by Tom Stark.

In Europe in the 1930s the competition scene revolved around International Light Plane Competitions instead of racing as in the United States. The rules were designed to encourage the development of practical light planes for potential commercial use. Competition scoring included points for high speed, low landing speed, folding wings, safety features, comfort, visibility, etc. The winning machines scored the highest in a composite of all these criteria. The competitions inspired a number of very advanced airplanes and for a time European light planes were more advanced aerodynamically and structurally than contemporary military or commercial airplanes.

The Heinkel Aircraft Corporation of Warnemtinde, Germany, was founded in 1922 by Prof Ernst Heinkel who was a well known designer for other German aircraft manufacturers. The early Heinkel airplanes were good, solid, utilitarian craft with the aerodynamics and attractiveness of a dump truck. They did enjoy a good reputation for solid reliability and fine workmanship, but their speed performance was mediocre. Prof Heinkel became impressed by the very high performance of the beautifully streamlined Lockheed Vega and Orion. He recognized that the square-cornered, wire-braced biplanes he had been producing could never hope to achieve the efficiency of the slick Lockheeds, so he embarked on a program to produce a competitor for the Orion which eventually became the He 70 Blitz.

As a first step Heinkel hired Siegfried and Walter Gunter who had designed some very beautiful light planes. One of their designs, the Baumer Sausewind, was a world speed record breaker and was probably the most advanced light plane of its day from an aerodynamic standpoint. It featured elliptical wings and tail, fully cantilever construction and stressed plywood skin.

The Gunter brothers' first design for Heinkel was the He 64 which resembled the Baumer Sausewind in many areas. However, it incorporated numerous advances which would make it seem modern even by today's standards. Foremost were the automatic, full span slats and large slotted flaps. These combined to give it a high speed to stall speed range of four to one which was then exceeded only by the very powerful Schneider Cup racers. Aside from the careful streamlining the He 64C showed great attention to detail such as the dual controls that allowed the instructor to disconnect the student's controls at the flip of a lever. An example of the fine workmanship was in the wing folding mechanism which was so precise that the gap between the fixed and folding sections was less than one millimeter.

The He 64C was not the overall winner of the 1932 International Light Plane Competition, but it was the hit of the show. The combination of its good performance, attractive lines and striking red, black and white color scheme made it the favorite of the aviation press. Unfortunately little was heard of the design after 1932. Heinkel did not continue very long in the light plane field, but the subsequent designs coming from the Heinkel Corporation were among the most beautifully proportioned airplanes built in Germany. The He 64C deserves its place in history as the turning point in the company's aerodynamic design philosophy. Photographs of the He 64C, the Balmer Sausewind and other International Light Plane Competition airplanes can be found in The Lightplane by John Underwood and George Collinge published by the Heritage Press.

The He 64C is a natural for model airplane work, The inverted, air cooled engine cowling of the real airplane is perfect for cowling in a model engine. The proportions are classic, and it has an uncluttered, fixed landing gear which avoids the need for the complexity and weight of a retracting gear system. About the only concern one might have is about the small stabilizer, but this has proven to be no problem whatsoever in the R/C model. The He 64C is stable enough for Free Flight, and I have a rubber powered version that flies quite well and required only a modest increase in dihedral and tail area.

The structural philosophy of the He 64C model is a little unusual. If you examine the planes, you will notice that the wing is built around a 3 in wide, balsa box section which provides all the bending and torsional strength. The leading and trailing edges are nonstructural fairings and are made as light as possible. The same thinking went into the fuselage design which consists of a structural balsa box for load carrying and very light fairings for the upper deck and lower fuselage. The fairing material is expanded bead foam plastic which is carved with sandpaper. The entire airplane is covered with papier-mache. The result is quite light and strong; my model weighs only 3-1/2 lbs, ready-to-fly.

The first flights told me that I had a fast, handful of an airplane. It was neutral in pitch and roll and flew quite well at high engine settings. Low speed flight was something else again as those narrow wing tips quit flying unpredictably with the inevitable snap roll. After several flights that included un-scheduled snap rolls on final, on take-off and finally while stretching the glide and rolling the model up into a ball, I decided to cure this bad tendency the same way the real airp-lane avoided it; with slats.

While the slats on the real airplane were movable and automatic, such a mechanism was impractical in such a small size, so the model's slats are fixed in the open position. The result was exactly as advertised; the stall characteristics were vastly improved. In fact, the slats make the plane very difficult to spin. The only noticeable, adverse side effect is a slight reduction in roll rate but not to the point of being objectionable. If you choose to build your He 64C without, you will have to fly it fast on take-off and landing.

If you are building a scale, radio control model from plans, you undoubtedly have mastered the basics, so the following construction information covers the less familiar building aspects only..."

Heinkel 64, MAN, April 1975.

Direct submission to Outerzone.

Supplementary file notes

Article pages, thanks to RFJ.


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