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The first turbojet aircraft to fly was the Heinkel He 178 prototype of the German Air Force, the Luftwaffe, on August 27, 1939 in Rostock, Germany

Heinkel He 178

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.

The 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 battle.

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 saw combat

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

During 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. However, 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.

A 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. 

Gloster Meteor

 

 The de 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 fighter to 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

The Engines

 The Jumo 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

  

 

The Rolls-Royce RB.23 Welland was Britain's first production jet engine. It was designed by Frank Whittle's team at Power Jets and was originally intended to be produced by Rover as theW.2B/23. Rover's continued delays in starting production and Whittle's increasing anger over Rover going behind his back to design their own engine, the W.2B/26, led to the project being moved to Rolls-Royce where Stanley Hooker joined the team from Rolls' supercharger division. Hooker's experience in turbo compressor design, along with improved metals and combustion systems, put the engine back on track, although it was largely passed over in favour of Rover's W.2B/26, that became the Rolls-Royce Derwent.

The engine was renamed the Welland after the English river, and entered production in 1943 for use on the Gloster Meteor.

  Rolls Royce Welland as Used in The Meteor

     

 

Part identification

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Squadron Leader Dave Glaser D.F.C.

A great Man I was proud to call my friend read about him here by clicking on his picture.

65 Squadron RAF

12 August 1940

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