On this day the 15th of May 1941 a Jet took off from RAF Cranwell. Which was later become the RAF college for officers wishing to be come officers in the Royal Air Force. It was the product of many years of work by Sir Frank Whittle and his company Power Jets.
This jet wasn’t the first jet aircraft the Germans had beaten the British into the air with there HE 178 which flew some 2 years earlier in August ’39.
The HE178 was a great technological leap forward but the Luftwaffe just wasn’t interested. Just like the lack of interest within the RAF with the jet engine project run by Sir Frank Whittle but of course World War 2 changed everything.
This jet was later developed into the Gloster Meteor two examples which are still flying as ejector seat testers for the Martin Baker company . It had a long service with many air forces round the world not retiring with the RAF till the 80’s.
There was a another jet developed by Gloster the E.1/44 which never did get past the prototype stage and was retired in the 50’s
The US air force was very interested in jets and the British did send a jet engine to the US for test and evaluation and in a B24 Liberator. The XP-59 which was developed by the Bell company was not a very impressive aircraft and never got past the prototype stage.
On the other hand the P80 Shooting star was a very successful aircraft and was in service during the Korean war and many years afterwards.
So this pretty sums up some early jet designs of WW2. I haven’t mentioned the German and Japanese designs which I found while doing research for this blog as there just too many to mention.
I hope you enjoyed reading this blog I will do another subject in the near future.
This was taken at Oshkosh 15 my own photo of a pair T33s taking off