Hannes Trautloft's picture

This aircraft registered to and operated by the American Airpower Heritage Fly Museum crashed in 2003 when was en route to an air show and was making a refueling stop at Cheyenne airport, WY (USA). This aircraft wasn't an authentic warbird and was never involved in World War II. It was one of the Heinkel He 111 produced by Spain, under the denomination of CASA 2.111. This air disaster was a great pity as it was quite unique; it was the only flying Heinkel He 111 in the world. There is a lovely one with original Junkers Jumo engines in the RAF Museum at Hendon, in the UK. 

Nevertheless, is a great excuse for remembering some features of this amazing bomber and which one was its role during the Second World War. The Heinkel He 111 was the most numerous Luftwaffe bomber during the early stages of World War II. The Heinkel He 111 was constantly upgraded and modified, but became obsolete during the latter part of the war. It continued operating the Heinkel He 111 in combat roles until the end of the war. In Germany, manufacture of the Heinkel He 111 ceased in September 1944.

Production of the Heinkel continued after the war as the Spanish-built CASA 2.111. Spain received a batch of He 111H-16s in 1943 along with an agreement to licence-build Spanish versions. Its airframe was produced in Spain under licence by Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA. The design differed significantly in powerplant only, eventually being equipped with Rolls-Royce Merlin engines. The Heinkel's descendant continued in service until 1973.  

The date of accident was 10 July 2003. The CASA 2.111 (Heinkel He 111) with Serial Number 72615 was piloted by Neil R. Stamp. It happened 2 miles SE of Cheyenne airport, WY (USA). The airplane, a Spanish-built version of the World War II Heinkel He-111 bomber, was en route to an air show and was making a refueling stop at Cheyenne. The tower cleared the pilot to land. The airplane was observed on a 3-mile straight-in final approach when it began a left turn. The controller asked the pilot what his intentions were. The pilot replied, "We just lost our left engine." The pilot then reported that he wasn't going to make it to the airport. Witnesses observed the airplane flying "low to the ground and under-speed for [a] good 4 minutes." The right propeller was turning, but the left propeller was not. There was no fire or smoke coming from the left engine. The pilot was "obviously trying to pull up." The airplane "dipped hard left," then struck the ground left wing first. It slid through a chain link fence, struck a parked automobile, and collided with a school bus wash barn. The fire destroyed the airplane, parked car, and wash barn. 

Disassembly and examination of both engines disclosed no anomalies that would have been causal or contributory to the accident. According to the Airplane Flight Manual, "Maximum power will probably be required to maintain flight with one engine inoperative. Maximum power at slow air speed may cause loss of directional control." A loss of engine power for reasons undetermined, and the pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control. Contributing factors were the unsuitable terrain on which to make a forced landing, low airspeed, the fence, automobile, and the school bus wash barn.


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