The Heinkel He 49 was the designation given to the first three prototypes of the aircraft that entered service as the Heinkel He 51, the first fighter aircraft to be used by the Luftwaffe after its official formation in April 1935.

Officially the He 49 was designed as civilian advanced trainer, but unofficially it was always intended to be the prototype for a new fighter aircraft. It was designed by Siegfried and Walter Günter at Heinkel's Rostock factory, and was a much more aerodynamic version of the earlier Heinkel HD 43.

The first prototype, the He 49a, made its maiden flight in November 1932, and was evaluated in December. It was powered by a BMW VI engine, and had a top speed of 199mph, far faster than any training aircraft of the period.

The second prototype, the He 49b, had a longer fuselage (by 1ft 3 3/4in), and was armed with two MG 17 machine guns mounted in the forward fuselage. It made its maiden flight in February 1933. The third prototype, the He 49c, had faired landing gear, but soon after being built was redesignated as the He 51a.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (20 November 2009), Heinkel He 49 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_heinkel_he_49.html

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