H0 229V-3
Stock No. 3609-01-0424-HO229
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Above photos at Freeman Field 
Above photo by Allied troops that captured the factory at Friedrichroda
Above photos at NASM, Silver Hills in 1988 
Source Disposition
War Prizes
pg 213
Surrendered in April 1945 in incomplete condition at a Gotha dispersal factory at Fredrichsroda known as Ortlepp Mobel Fabrik.
War Prizes
pg 213
16 May 1946, FE-490 was in storage at Freeman Field.
War Prizes
pg 213
August 1946 the Horten was being restored to display condition prior to transfer to Park Ridge for the Museum.
War Prizes
pg 213
It is currently stored with the Paul E. Garber facility of the National Air and Space Museum, Silver Hill, Maryland.  This aircraft has never flown.

"The German design is well known -- it's a great achievement in Aeronautics;  however, it wasn't a stealth plane.  The wing, while it's true provides a great shape for building stealth aircraft, the Germans didn't have this in mind, as radar was new and they didn't know much about it. A baseless assertion contradicted by the evidence.  Generaloberst Martini was listening for British radar transmissions in early 1939.  It's why he sent the Graf von Zeppelin zeppelin on a trip around the British Isles that year.  He was listening for it because the Germans already had it.  The Freya radar was introduced as standard production equipment in 1939.  It's a certainty the Germans developed this independently from the British.

I admit it's possible Dr. Horten exaggerated.  That doesn't explain his recurrent postwar collaborations with Jack Northrop and Northrop Aircraft up through the B-2 project. Doktor Horten said he knew of the flying wing's low radar cross section in 1943.  It also doesn't explain why the Hortens included a charcoal and glue layer in the H0-229 lamination.  There also weren't any fuel tanks in the wing.  The wing itself was built as a tank and coated with kerosene-proof glue on the inside of the first plywood layer.


When on February the 18th, Leutnant Erwing Ziller got into the cockpit of the Horten IX V2, he couldn't imagine that was going to be his last flight.

The aircraft had been repaired after a previous hard landing and Ziller had received instructions to cancel all flights until one of the Horten brothers could witness the testing. 

Why he decided to disobey these orders is something we don't know. What is true is that he got the plane to the air and after a 45 minutes flight Ziller got into trouble. He had to push the aircraft down from 800 meter high to 400 and then pulled out the landing gear. One of the jet engines had suddenly stopped!! 

The wing slipped into a right side turn and begun to spin towards the ground. Finally it hit the ground killing his pilot in the crash. 

In spite of the accident and the destruction of the only powered prototype (the V2) the existing fellowship between Hermann Göering and the Horten brothers made possible that the Horten flying wing was included in the Jägernotprogramm or "Emergency Fighter Program."  

A report on the accident written by Walter Rosler was sent to the RLM (Reich's Air Ministry). As accidents in test aircraft were habitual there was no following investigation and the incident was closed. Besides, the end of the war was close and the available material and human resources couldn't be wasted in theses accident research activities. 

Production was assigned to the Gothaer Waggon Fabrik, which main facilities were placed in the city of Gotha. An initial contract for 20 pre-production aircraft was awarded to the firm and works begun. The Gotha engineers introduced several and extensive modifications to adapt the design to the series production.  

The construction was subcontracted to the Ortlepp Möbel Fabrik at Friedrichroda. This was a logical solution as the GWF facilities had all their capabilities compromised in the production of parts for other aircraft manufacturers. Besides its management was pushing the RLM to adopt their flying wing designs and this way cancel the Horten IX series production. The Gotha designs were known as the Gotha P-60 with three different versions A, B and C. 

 When the Ortlepp Works at Friedrichsroda were overrun by troops of the American 3rd Army’s VII Corps on April 14, 1945 they found inside of the building three FW in different construction stages:

The V3 was nearly complete. The jet engines were installed and most part of the works on the skin had finished.

The Horten 229 V3 inside the Ortlepp Facilities

Another view of the V3

The V4 had received the engines and the works had begun to create the wood structure.

An American soldier standing by the side of the V5 prototype

The Ortlepp building still exists and now is used by a car sale firm.  

And here begins the confusion. After the end of the war, the V4 and V5 disappeared. In some reports they are briefly mentioned but it's quite likely that they were scrapped. The V1, the non-powered prototype, was also destroyed and last seen at Kassel Rothwesten airfield. 

We do not know where in Europe the V3 was taken, where it was crated and loaded in a ship. According to the NASM the HMS Reaper packing list is not known, but there were other vessels with war booty that left Europe. What is sure is that the V3 was shipped to the USA and arrived by train to Freeman. 

The pictures now owned by the museum, are laser copies of the originals taken by Howard Furst and donated to the Freeman Air Museum three years ago. Unfortunately, we have been unable to get in touch with him so he could tell us about his story and that of those pictures.

After this, in November 1945, the aircraft was exhibited in one of the Freeman Field hangars to the press and general public. The same building there was shared at least with a Me-163, a He-162, an Ar-234, a Bachem Natter, a Horten II glider, a FL-282 and different engines.

In other moment during the stay of the Horten IX V3 at Freeman, it was taken out for a walk around photo session. This seemed to be a usual practice as some other sets of pictures of this kind exist. Five pictures were taken:

After some time on exhibition, the wing was taken as the other captured aircraft to Park Ridge, Illinois and stored in a war time facility belonging to the Douglas Aircraft company. These aircraft were the nucleus of the today NASM aircraft collection. Unfortunately, no picture of the aircraft at this place is known. 

With the beginning of the Korean war, the plant was again reactivated and the aircraft had to be moved. Today, the Horten IX V3 is in store at the Garber Building 22 awaiting a restoration that will never come. It has to be said that the actual status is at least pitiful.

Raul Escapa, Spain

Awaiting Restoration at the Paul Garber Facility

David Myhra Book for sale on eBay 01/31/2012


Horten Ho 9  <>  Messerschmitt Me 209V1 X PLANES OF THE THIRD REICH SERIES - An Illustrated Series on Germany's Experimental Aircraft of World War II <> <>   Three Horten Ho 9s were constructed prior to wars end: the V1 sailplane, the twin 004B powered prototype V2, and the serial production prototype V3 by Gotha-Friedrichsroda. The V1 was destroyed at the U.S. Luftwaffe Aircraft Collection Center-Merseburg. The V2 crashed at Oranienburg killing its test pilot Erwin Ziller. The V3 was captured and taken by General George McDonalds Army Air Force Intelligence unit to the U.S. Luftwaffe Aircraft Collection Center. The Ho 229 V3 was eventually shipped to Freeman Field, Indiana about September 1945, and is now in storage at the National Air and Space Museum, Silver Hill, Maryland awaiting restoration. Myhra has taken 150 photos of the Ho 9 from his collection, along with several dozen digital images, and has put together a unique Ho 9 photo collection. 79 page heavily illustrated softcover book in excellent condition - pages are bright, binding is tight and no bumped corners.  The second book - Messerschmitt Me 209V1 -  This is a rare history of the secretive and seldom photographed Me 209 V1, V2, V3, and V4 prototypes, including color photographs of the only existing remnants of the V1 prototype. The Me 209 held the FAI’s absolute world speed record for propeller driven aircraft from 1939 until 1969 until a modified Grumman F8F Bearcat piloted by Daryl Greenamyer finally wrested the record away. The world's fastest piston engined airplane until 1969 was the Messerschmitt Me 209 V1 which set the absolute world speed record of 469.22 mph on April 26, 1939. Aircraft was flown by Flugkapitan Fritz Wendel, (shown below being congratulated by designer Willy Messerschmitt). Power was a specially designed Daimler-Benz DB 601 ARJ twelve cylinder inverted liquid cooled engine of 1,800 hp which could be boosted to 2,300 hp for short bursts. Aircraft was completed in June 1938 and first flew August 1, 1938.

Jim West
Page last revised 01/31/2012