Tour the Last Remaining Heinkel He 219

Heinkel 219 A-0, FE 614, lies dusty and dirty but intact in
Building 7 of the Garber Facility of the NASM (1997)


It was in researching the He 219 many years ago when I first learned of the Garber Facility.  Just the thought of this dusty catacomb where untold treasures of aviation history were locked away was captivating.  I read Jay Spenser's commentary with great envy as he described peering into the cockpit of the He 219, a sight that apparently very few people have been privileged to see.  In his commentary he said that access to Garber was restricted, only legitimate research requests were considered.  Jay was a curator at the NASM at the time.  It wasn't until many years later that I took it upon myself to document the entire collection at Garber on the internet.  I had no idea what the eventual outcome would be, but I was sure that there were many people the world over who like me had spent many hours daydreaming about the treasures there.  The Garber Virtual Tour was the end result, and it has been very well received.

In the process of creating the Virtual Tour, I made the acquaintance of Col. Scott Willey (USAF ret.), a docent at Garber.  He ultimately provided invaluable encouragement and assistance.  It was an undertaking that we both believed in, something that (at the time) the NASM itself had no interest in doing.  Scott shot many, many rolls of film for the Virtual Tour, and helped me catalog the artifacts there so we could put together a list of what was there and what building it was in.  The NASM has since at least done that, there is an up-to-date list on the NASM website.  The NASM has also expressed interest in the pictures that make up the Virtual Tour, but they don't want to take the material unless they own the rights to it.  That is something I'm not comfortable with.

On with the tour!

Overall b&w picture of the He 219 in pieces, taken in the 1970's

For many years the He 219 sat next to the Enola Gay, an odd juxtaposition to say the least.  In this position it was easier to view.  As more and more artifacts have been gathered at Garber, they have had to do alot of rearranging to accomodate the artifacts in limited space.  The Arado Ar 196 sits atop its floats in the background.

The cockpit of the He 219 (1997).  Notice the large red handle.  Guess what it is for!  The He 219 was one of the first operational airplanes with cockpit pressurization and ejection seats!  Note also the stirrups for bracing ones legs before being shot out of the aircraft.  The smaller red handle on the right vertical console is the canopy release lever.