As early as 1936 the RLM (Reich Air Ministry) became interested in a new fighter that would have performance far beyond that of the Bf 109. Although there was never an official project, both Focke-Wulf and Heinkel submitted proposals. To get maximum performance, Heinkel's design focused on reduction of drag. There were no struts, the cockpit was well faired, and the wheels were fully retractable. The engine of the He 100 was mounted well forward of the wings with a tight-fitting cowling. Another risky innovation was the use of an evaporative cooling system instead of a high-drag radiator for the engine. The prototype flew on 22 January 1938.
Though there were development problems, and Luftwaffe test pilots disliked the high wing-loading, General Ernst Udet flew the He 100 V-2 to a new world record of 394.6 mph over a 100-km circuit, and on 30 March 1939 Hans Dieterle, flying the clipped wing He 100 V-3, took the world speed record to 463.92 mph.
The RLM elected not to put the aircraft into mass production. Six prototypes were sold to the Soviet Union and 3 of the model He 100D-0 to Japan. The remaining 12 He 100D-1 fighters formed a Heinkel-Rostock defense unit. In 1940, these were photographed by the German propaganda machine in entirely fictitious markings to convince Great Britain there was a fighter called the He 113 in large-scale service. The He 100 never fired a shot in anger.
The replica He 100 on display was built for Planes of Fame Air Museum by George Lucas of Nunda, New York.
Manufacturer: Heinkel Flugzeugwerke
Year: Replica based on 1939 aircraft
Model: He 100D-1
Max T/O Weight: 5,512 lb.
Span: 30 ft. 11 in.
Length: 26 ft. 11 in.
Height: 11 ft. 10 in.
Maximum Speed: 420 mph
Cruise Speed: 343 mph
Rate of Climb: 2,716 ft/min
Power Plant: 1 × Daimler-Benz DB 601 M inverted supercharged V-12 liquid-cooled engine, 1,175 hp.
Range: 559 mi.
Service Ceiling: 36,090 ft.
Armament: One 20-mm cannon and two 7.92-mm machine guns