first turbojet aircraft to fly was the Heinkel
He 178 prototype of
the German Air
Force, the Luftwaffe, on
August 27, 1939 in Rostock,
The Messerschmitt Me 262 was the world's first fully
operational turbojet fighter and saw service in the later
years of World
War Two. The Messerschmitt Me 262 had to potential to
change the course of the air war in Europe but Hitler ordered
that it be used in a capacity that undermined its whole
value as a fighter plane.
Me 262 Schwalbe (Swallow) first flew on July 18th, 1942.
Its speed outclassed any plane flying at the time. However, senior members of
the Luftwaffe remained cautious - a plane that flew so fast in testing did not,
in their eyes, prove itself as a combat plane until it had done just that in
The Me 262 first flew in combat on July 25th, 1944 when
it attacked a Mosquito flying
a reconnaissance mission over Munich. When it was allowed to be used solely as a
fighter against bomber formations, the Me 262 was devastating with over 100
kills. However, many Me 262's never left the ground as many were destroyed by
the Allies while they were on the ground. Of 1,400 produced, less than 300 ever
Messerschmitt 262 Schwalbe
The Gloster Meteor was the first British and
the allies first operational Jet Aircraft.
The Meteor's development was heavily reliant on its ground-breaking engines,
developed by Sir Frank Whittle and
his company Power Jets Ltd.
Development of the aircraft began in 1940, work on the engines had started in
1936. The Meteor first flew in 1943 and commenced operations on 27 July 1944
with 616 Squadron of the RAF. Nicknamed by pilots the "Meatbox",
although the Meteor was not an aerodynamically advanced aircraft, it proved to
be a successful and effective combat fighter
development, skeptical elements of the Air Ministry had expected mature
piston-powered aircraft types to exceed the capabilities of the Meteor in all
regards except that of speed; thus, the performance of early Meteors was
considered favorable for the interceptor mission, being capable of out-diving
the majority of enemy aircraft.
the conclusion of in-service trials held between the Meteor F.3. and the Hawker
Tempest V was that the
performance of the Meteor exceeded the Tempest in almost all respects and that,
barring some maneuverability issues, the Meteor could be considered to be a
capable all-round fighter.
total of 890 Meteors were lost in RAF service (145 of these crashes occurred in
1953 alone), resulting in the deaths of 450 pilots. Contributory factors in the
number of crashes were the high fuel consumption and therefore a short flight
endurance (less than one hour), causing pilots to run out of fuel, and difficult
handling with one engine out due to the widely set engines.
Havilland DH.100 Vampire was a British jet fighter
commissioned by the Royal
Air Force during the Second
World War. Following the Gloster
Meteor, it was the second jet
enter service with the RAF. Although it arrived too late
to see combat during the war, the Vampire served with
front line RAF squadrons until 1953 and continued in use
as a trainer until 1966, although generally the RAF
relegated the Vampire to advanced training roles in the
mid-1950s and the type was generally out of RAF service by
the end of the decade. The Vampire also served with many
air forces worldwide, setting aviation firsts and records.
De Havilland Vampire
004 was the world's first turbojet engine
in production and operational use, and the first successful axial
compressor jet engine ever
built. Some 8,000 units were manufactured by Junkers in Germany during
late World War II, powering the
operational Messerschmitt Me 262 fighter
jet and the Arado Ar 234 reconnaissance
/ bomber jet, along with prototypes including the Horten
Ho 229 aircraft. Variants of the engine were produced in Eastern Europe for
years following the war.
Junkers Jumo 004-B as used in the ME262