Above set of photographs, recently sold at eBay, depicts one of the Heinkel 219 used for ejection seat test at the Erprobungsstelle Rechlin. Photo #1 has previously been published. Although the same appears true for the others, closer examination reveals differences. Presumably, all in-flight photos are stills from films produced during the tests. Above photographs show rather distinct cloud formations and the ground appears as if covered in snow. In photo #3 the shadow from the wing appears right beneath indicating the sun high in the sky. Photographs published in modell magazin and by Ron Ferguson show the wing throwing its shadow backwards on the fuselage, partially covering the markings, thus indicating an early morning or late afternoon flight time.
This Heinkel 219 with the Stammkennzeichen DV+DI was Werknummer 190113. The last three numbers can be seen in photo #1 beneath the cockpit and at the nose. Ron Ferguson, p. 21, identifies this aircraft as an A-0 series, to be precise as A-042. In his Research Paper he also argues that its assigned Versuchmuster number was V19, p. 79.
E5, the department of Erprobungsstelle Rechlin responsible for testing aircraft equipment carried out ejection seat test with Heinkel 219 during the period October 1943 to June 1944. The summary of these tests resulted in a report dating from August 3 1944. The Heinkel 219 aircraft documented in these tests are Heinkel 219 V6 DH+PV, Werknummer 190006 and the above DV+DI. If the flight log of Joachim Eisermann, Oberleutnant with E'Stelle Rechlin, is any indication, then flight tests started on 29 October 1943, when he notes for his first flight in DH+PV “start of ejection seat tests”.
From Eisermann’s log, DV+DI was only part of the test program from February 23rd to May 6th 1944: the former date illustrates when he first transferred DV+DI from Heinkel’s production facility at Vienna-Schwechat, and the latter documents when he returned the aircraft back there. The majority of Eisermann’s test flights in DV+DI took place at Udetfeld, an airfield in Upper Silesia, between end of February and March 23rd, see below’s page from J. Eisermann’s flight log. Later, the aircraft was on several occasions used for tests at Rechlin.
Joachim Eisermann worked after the war of VFW Fokker and wrote about his experiences for the in-house magazine (reprinted in modell magazin 02/1979). Challenges during the tests included the ejected seat hitting his tail plane - flight in Heinkel 219 V6 on November 1943 - irregular and completely unpredictable trajectories of the ejected seat and an opening of the seat’s parachute while still attached to the aircraft. In the latter instance a disastrous outcome was only averted through Eisermann’s unperturbed reaction to turn the aircraft during its steep descent to deflate the parachute.
Eisermann piloted Heinkel 219 V6 on May 19th 1944 when with Wilhelm Buss, a parachutist assigned to E'Stelle Rechlin, a person replaced the test dummy and was ejected at 1200m alt. at 310km/h. After two more successful tests with Wilhelm Buss on June 12th and 13th, the system was approved and went into production according to Remp, p. 62. This timeline is however at odds with other information according to which Heinkel 219 production with ejection seats started earlier. The first operational usage of an ejection seat in the Heinkel 2219 occurred the night of April 11th to 12th 1944 when the pilot Uffz. Herter and his radio operator Gefr. Prebix were forced to use their ejection seats after their Heinkel 219 190073 was shot down by a RAF night fighter of the 239 Sqn., Ferguson, p.107. At least two other operational emergency ejection occurrences are documented before June 13th.
Back to DV+DI, the aircraft appears to carry the standard camouflage of RLM76 with RLM75 applied in dapples. The Stammkennzeichen is also applied under the wings as seen in photo #3. Modifications for the tests include the removal of the SN-2 FuG220 antennas, although the brackets were retained. It appears that the radar equipment remained on board, Buss report quoted in Remp, p.60. The rear parts of the canopy are removed, as well as the fame dampers on the engines. For higher precision measurement of the seat trajectory, a red and white striped band was applied horizontally on the fuselage, and vertically on the vertical tail fin. The latter partially covers the Hakenkreuz.
Bateson, Richard P., 1970
Heinkel He 219 Uhu
Aircraft Profiles 219, Profile Publications Ltd, Windsor, Berkshire, England
Beauvois, Heinrich, Kössler, Karl, Mayer, Max, Regel, Christoph, 2002
German Secret Flight Test Centers to 1945
Midland Publishing, Hinchley, England
Eisermann, Joachim, flight log
Eisermann Joachim, 1979
“Plötzlich ging die He kopfüber!”
modell magazin 02/1979, p.18-19, Alba Publikationen, Düsseldorf, Germany
Ferguson, Ron F., 2012
The Heinkel He 219 - A Research Paper
3rd edition, Maldon, Victoria, Australia, distributor Wing Leader
Murawski, Marek J., Rys, Marek, 2012
Heinkel He 219 Uhu
Kagero Monographs 3D Edition Vol. I, Lublin, Kagero Publishing s.p., Poland
Remp, Roland, 1999
Der Nachtjäger Heinkel He 219
Aviatic Verlag GmbH, Oberhaching, Germany