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Who invented the Jet Engine?

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Who invented the Jet Engine?

Old 18th Mar 2001, 08:02
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Post Who invented the Jet Engine?

Another thread suggested Sir Frank Whittle as a person of note...no doubt for the discovery of the jet engine.

I've often wondered how it was that the Germans had the ME-262 flying combat in the latter part of WW2, but they never got any credit for the development. As far as I know the Whittle engine wasn't powering any serious a/c until after the war ended. Is this a case of the victor re-writing history?

No disrespect to Sir Frank, just curious for the real facts.
Old 18th Mar 2001, 08:46
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Have you not heard of Baron Fritz Von Turbinehausen ?.
Old 18th Mar 2001, 09:25
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Perhaps parallel development is the answer rather than a single "first". Junkers, BMW (Wilhelm Messerschmitt designed for BMW) and Heinkel were all in the race with the He280 (Heinkel) being the first aircraft with jet propulsion only as opposed to a combination of jet/piston.

Old 18th Mar 2001, 10:56
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I think Sir Frank Whittle was first with the engine, but not first to get a jet flying.

ME262, V1 & V2 could have lead to another conclusion to WW2 very easily.

"Who is first" arguments are a giggle anyway, it's amazing how many historical facts are omitted from the school curriculum and popular culture of certain nations (one superpower in particular comes to mind).
Old 18th Mar 2001, 11:26
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Are you speaking of Canada?
Old 18th Mar 2001, 13:52
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Old 18th Mar 2001, 13:58
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Henry Coanda invented the first jet engine around the 1920's french bloke. Will look it up and get back with the details.
Old 18th Mar 2001, 14:07
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Thumbs up

Close BlueDiamond - but it was actually the Heinkel He 178 - see

The other you refer to is claimed as the first jet fighter - but AFAIK it never saw either entered Luftwaffe service or saw combat.
Old 18th Mar 2001, 14:51
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I seem to remember that Whittle invented the jet engine but the War Ministry didn't think it could work so never clasified it, which is why the Germans were able to build them as well; from Whittles un-classified design.
Old 18th Mar 2001, 16:36
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daft fader
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After last years film offering from the septics about capturing the enigma coding machine in which it was proven beyond all doubt to have been an achievement by their good selves, it would not surprise me to discover that the jet was in fact invented by one of them.

No doubt right now someone is working on a script featuring Mel Gibson playing Frank Whittle who it turns out was born in Sioux City or some other damp patch in a hole in the ground. After all, look at the service already rendered to history by Mel in other films connected with this sceptred isle.
Old 18th Mar 2001, 22:33
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... and strangely enough Mel Gibson is an Australian!
Old 19th Mar 2001, 04:20
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I have just finished reading "Enigma" by Hugh Sebag-Montefiore - one of the fullest histories of the battle to decode the different versions of Enigma cyphers, the original production of a replica Enigma before the war by the Poles, and the several captures of actual machines, the encoding wheels and settings books by the RN.

In fact, there was a capture of an Enigma machine and settings books by a US Navy vessel.

But only one. And the commander screwed up badly. He allowed the captured German crew of the U-Boat to see his officers descending into it, and then he was crassly stupid enough to try to tow it into port. Luckily it sank. The Germans had to be interned separately from any other POW's, their mail virtually embargoed in case they got a message back to the Fatherland that the Allies were reading German messages.

And this was shortly before D-Day. Had we been unable to read their codes, we would have not known whether the Germans had swallowed the bluff about landing across the Pas de Calais instead of Normandy, and the whole invasion of Europe was endangered.

The commander of the US Navy ship was recommended for a court martial for his stupidity.

What do we get from Hollywood? That they single-handedly sorted out the U-Boat menace. Pah!
Old 19th Mar 2001, 13:00
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Found it.

In 1910, seven years after the first flights by the American inventors Orville and Wilbur Wright, the French scientist Henri Marie Coanda designed and built a jet-propelled biplane, which took off and flew under its own power with Coanda as pilot. Coanda used an engine that he termed a reaction motor, but, discouraged by the lack of public acceptance of his aircraft, he abandoned his experiments.

for more information and a picture of the aircaft see http://www.allstar.fiu.edu/aero/coanda.htm

[This message has been edited by Throtlemonkey (edited 19 March 2001).]
Old 19th Mar 2001, 13:02
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Here's a cut & paste from my 'Avitaion Trivia' page

The first patent for a turbojet as a powerplant for an aircraft was made by Sir Frank Whittle.

The first jet engine to ever run was made by Professor Ernst Heinkel, in March 1937. It was the hydrogen fuelled Heineken He S 2. The engine only ever ran on a test stand, and its construction was overseen by Hans Joachim Pabst von Ohain.
(Whittle's engine first ran on 12-4-1937, a couple of weeks later than the Heinkel engine)

The first jet powered aircraft to fly was the Heinkel He 178, on 27-8-1939, powered by a Heinkel He S 3B engine, which made about 450kg (1,000lbs) of thrust. The flight lasted six minutes, and the pilot was Erich Warsitz.

The first twin engined jet to fly was the Heinkel He 280, on 30-3-1941, powered by two Heinkel He S 8's, and lasted only three minutes due to concerns of the chance of the engines overheating.

The first four engined jet to fly was the Arado AR 234C, in April 1944. It was powered by four BMW 003 jet engines.

The first six engined jet aircraft to fly was the Junkers Ju 287 derivative, the Junkers EF 131. The aircraft was built in Dessau, Germany, and finished in late 1946. The factory had been taken over by occupying Soviet troops, and for some reason for its first flight it was disassembled and taken by train to Podbererez'ye, near Moscow.
The date is not definite, but it was around late 1946. Each forward swept wing had a large pod, each containing three Jumo 004C engines.

The Heinkel factory was the first to use catapults to assist aircraft in taking off from ships.

The Heinkel factory invented the explosive and counter-sunk riveting methods.

The first ejection seat was made by Heinkel, for the He 280. It was pneumatically powered, and accelerated the pilot upwards at between 7 and 9 gees.

The first use of an ejection seat was made by pilot Schenk, on 13-1-1943. He required it's use when the He 280, which was powered by two Argus pulse-jets that required a high forward speed to start up, refused to separate from the tow aircraft due to the cable release mechanism icing up. As a precaution, Schenk ejected and landed safely.

The first aircraft to have variable sweep wings was the Messerschmitt Me P1101, though it never flew due to he end of the Second War War bring its construction to a halt. The wings, however, could not be moved in flight, only on the ground. Its design was later copied and improved on by Bell in the US, when they made the Bell X-5 experimental aircraft, which flew six years later on 20-6-1951.

The axial flow compressor, later used by the vast majority of all jet engines, was invented by Frenchman, Maxime Guillaume in 1921.

The ramjet engine was invented by Frenchman, René Lorin, in 1908. It's use was not realised for many decades.

The first afterburning jet engine was a modified Jumo 004E. It ran in mid 1945, and made 1000kg (2200lbs) thrust 'dry', and 1200kg (2650lbs) when afterburning.

The first by-pass jet engine (like the engines on modern large jet airliners) was to be the Heinkel He S 10 'dual cycle engine', in late 1939, but its development was halted in favour of the He S 011.

[This message has been edited by 18Wheeler (edited 19 March 2001).]
Old 21st Mar 2001, 10:44
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Ah the grand old "hydrogen fuelled Heineken He S 2."

Now there's a beer that makes Fosters taste like drain water. But come to think of it, most beers do don't they? (Duck! Incoming!)

That has to be one of the better freudian slips on the forum this year 18Wheeler! I fancy a couple of tins myself right now...


Through difficilties to the cinema

[This message has been edited by Blacksheep (edited 21 March 2001).]
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Old 21st Mar 2001, 14:32
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I've always understood Throtlemonkey to be correct. Henri Coanda flew his jet-propelled biplane in 1910. I saw a photograph of the machine once and to judge by the width of the intake, it was also quite likely the first high bypass ratio/shrouded propeller in the world as well.

But then, I've also understood that a Richard Pearce, (Pearse?) a Kiwi farmer, flew a heavier than air machine a couple of months before Orville and Wilbur. But, (as so often happens in the Antipodes to this day with anything new), he was treated as a crank and a "flying machine" was regarded by all who heard about it as nothing more than a novelty. The attitude displayed then has been used by Australian MP and author Barry Jones as the 'Pearce syndrome', which reads along these lines: anyone in Australia with a new idea is asked only one question by the idiots we elect or promote to positions of power. "Have they done this already overseas?" If the answer is 'no', the reply is, "Well, it won't work 'cause it hasn't been done overseas." If the reply is yes, the reply is "No need to press on with it then, 'cause they'll do it better than we could".

And HugMonster, regarding the U-Boat captured intact by the USN in June 1944, (it was the 4th June), it didn't sink enroute to the States. (I suspect the USN announced that it had at the time for obvious reasons.) Visitors to the Chicago Museum can actually walk through the U-Boat (a fantastic tour) and see an excellent movie including actual film of its capture and interviews with both American and German veterans of the engagement. The USN destroyer flotilla Commodore who made the capture drilled his crews for months beforehand in boarding sinking U-Boats and closing the sea cocks.

Now if you want to talk about heroes, spare a moment to think about the young sailor who went into the bowels of an (unfamiliar) sinking enemy vessel, right down to the lowest deck, to close the sea cocks, with the very real possibility of the boat's sinking before he got there, to say nothing of possibly meeting some die-hard Nazi down there intent on stopping him. When the long boat drew alongside, only the conning tower was above water and the boat was sinking fast.

Off the subject of jet engines, I know, but since you brought the subject up, HugMonster, in my book, I don't care what nationality the guy was. That took real balls.

[This message has been edited by Wiley (edited 21 March 2001).]
Old 24th Mar 2001, 02:17
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AFAIK Coanda was not a Frenchman but a Romanian living in France and his engine was more like a ducted propeller. It was definitely driven by some kind of petrol engine.

As for the Heineken engine, that was a Freudian slip, I guess.....

The invention of the jet engine was something that was "in the air", just like internal combustion engines a few years earlier. I don't think anyone can be accused of copying here, just different people arriving at similar conclusions at the same time....

BTW, impressive ramjet airplanes with the pilot sitting or lying inside the cone at the center of the engine were built by Leduc after the war. Prototypes are on show at the Paris Air and Space museum.
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Old 25th Mar 2001, 19:38
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If you want to be a real pedant, how about Archimedes - didn't he invent a steam jet engine some time ago?
Old 25th Mar 2001, 20:22
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Whittle was hampered by politicians and others who mostly worked against him.

For an interesting web site on jet engines including some mpegs visit:


Whittles book makes interesting reading.

Old 26th Mar 2001, 05:04
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Musta've been modeled after an aussie dispute pilot

1)...blows out lots of hot air

2)...whines a lot

3)...good thing it stops whining at the gate when shut down..

4)...sucks and blows...at the same time!!!!

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