The Heinkel He 176 was a German rocket-powered aircraft. It was the world’s first aircraft to be propelled solely by a liquid-fuelled rocket, making its first powered flight on 20 June 1939 with Erich Warsitz at the controls. It was a private venture by the Heinkel company in accordance with director Ernst Heinkel’s emphasis on developing technology for high-speed flight. The performance of the He 176 was not spectacular, but it did provide “proof of concept” for rocket propulsion.
All documents regarding the He 176 were destroyed during the war. The often quoted performance data of the aircraft, such as a speed reaching 750 km/h, as well as some of the drawings, are not based on sound documents. Only two true pictures of the He 176 have survived which were probably taken in Peenemünde during tests.
Drawing was created from the two true surviving photographs and scant surviving data. A preliminary 3D CAD model was created and rotated to compare with the attitude of one clear photograph. The model was then altered until it matched the photograph as close as possible. The corrected and final 3D model was then used as a basis for the final drawing.