The Horten Ho 229 V3 is the only extant example of the world's first all-wing jet aircraft. Built in Germany during World War II, the Horten Ho 229 promised spectacular performance. The German air force (Luftwaffe) chief, Hermann Göring, allocated half-a-million Reich Marks to the brothers Reimar and Walter Horten to build and fly several prototypes. Numerous technical problems beset this unique design and the only powered example crashed after several test flights. Despite this, the airplane remains one of the most unusual combat aircraft tested during World War II.
The U. S. Army found the Ho 229 prototypes V3 through V6 at Friedrichroda, Germany, in April 1945. The V3 (also referred to as Horten IX V3) was approximately half finished and nearest to completion of the four airframes. Army personnel removed it three days later and shipped it from Germany to the U.S. The aircraft arrived at what is now the Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration, and Storage Facility in Suitland, Maryland, around 1950.
The Horten Ho 229 V3 is currently visible to the public inside the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, while staff work to document the aircraft's condition and stabilize its delicate structure.
Learn more about the ongoing conservation work and fascinating history behind this unique aircraft.
This research was funded in part by a grant from the Smithsonian Scholarly Studies Program. We would also like to thank Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust; Ellen Nagy of Georgia Pacific Chemicals; Larry Osborn of the Appalachian Hardwood Center; and Terry Connors of the University of Kentucky. Staff at the Smithsonian's Museum Conservation Institute who have contributed to this research include Odile Madden, Nicole Little, and Jennifer Giaccai.