Heinkel HE 12
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The Heinkel HE 12 was a pontoon-equipped mail plane built in Germany in 1929, designed to be launched by catapult from a liner at sea.
The concept was hit upon after Norddeutscher Lloyd (NDL) had carried a Junkers F.13 seaplane aboard the during 1927 to provide joyrides for passengers when the liner was in port. NDL officials realised that a seaplane based on a liner could have a more practical commercial application, taking off with the liner's airmail while still a long distance from port, therefore drastically cutting down time taken for the mail to arrive. Heinkel designed a catapult, which NDL planned to install on its new liners, the and , and an aircraft to carry the mail. Since the crew of ''Lutzow'' had trouble providing the necessary maintenance for the F 13, Deutsche Luft Hansa agreed to provide the operational support for the venture, and when ''Bremen'' departed on her maiden voyage in 1929, a single HE 12 (''D-1717'') was carried aboard.
The HE 12 was a derivative of the military HE 9 design; a conventional, low-wing, strut-braced monoplane. The pilot and radio operator sat in tandem, open cockpits with the mail carried in a compartment behind them.
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