- Jet aircraft
A jet aircraft is an
aircraftpropelled by jet engines. Jet aircraft fly much faster than propeller-powered aircraft and at higher altitudes -- as high as 10,000 to 15,000 meters, about 33,000 to convert|49000|ft|m|-2. At these altitudes, jet engines achieve maximum efficiency over long distances. The engines in propeller powered aircraft achieve their maximum efficiency at much lower altitudes.
Two engineers, Frank Whittle in the United Kingdom and Hans von Ohain in Germany, developed the concept independently during the late 1930s, although credit for the first turbojet is given to Whittle.
Although the concept had already been discussed as early as August 1928 by
Frank Whittleat Flying School, Wittering, Hans von Ohainwrote In February 1936 to Ernst Heinkel, telling him of the design and its possibilities.
It can be argued that A. A. Griffith, who published a paper in July 1926 on compressors and turbines, which he had been studying at the RAE, also deserves priority credit, perhaps more than either
Frank Whittleor Hans von Ohain.
The first turbine-equipped jetplane was designed on paper in late 1929 when
Frank Whittleof the British Royal Air Forcesent his concept to the Air Ministryto see if it would be of any interest to them. The first manufactured turbine jetplane was the Heinkel He 178 turbojet prototypeof the German Air Force (" Luftwaffe"), piloted by Erich Warsitzon August 27, 1939.
The first flight of the Italian
Caproni Campini N.1 motorjetprototype was on August 27, 1940. Test pilot Major Mario De Bernardiof the Italian Royal Air Force (" Regia Aeronautica") was at the controls.
The British flew their
Gloster E.28/39prototype on May 15, 1941, powered by Sir Frank Whittle's turbojet, and piloted by Flt Lt PG Sayer. When the United Stateslearned of the British work, it produced the Bell XP-59 with a version of the Whittle engine built by General Electric, which flew on September 12, 1942, piloted by Col L. Craigie.
The first operational
jet fighterwas the Messerschmitt Me 262, piloted by Fritz Wendel. It was the fastest conventional aircraft of World War II- only the rocket-powered Messerschmitt Me 163Komet was faster. Mass production started in 1944, too late for a decisive impact on the outcome of the war. About the same time, the United Kingdom's Gloster Meteorwas limited to defense of the UK against the V1 flying bomb and ground-attack operations over Europe in the last months of the war. The Imperial Japanese Navyalso developed jet aircraft in 1945, including the Nakajima J9Y Kikka, partially inspired by German designs.
November 8, 1950, during the Korean War, United States Air ForceLt. Russell J. Brown, flying in an F-80, intercepted two North Korean MiG-15s near the Yalu Riverand shot them down in the first jet-to-jet dogfightin history. BOACoperated the first commercial jet service, from Londonto Johannesburg, in 1952 with the de Havilland Comet jetliner.
The fastest military jet plane was the
SR-71 Blackbirdat Mach 3.2. The fastest commercial jet plane was the Tupolev Tu-144at Mach 2.35.
Modern jets cruise at speeds of 0.75 to 0.85 Mach, or 75% to 85% of the
speed of sound(420 to 580 mph/ 680-900 km/h). The speed of sound predominantly depends on air temperature(hardly at all on pressure), so the Mach number for the speed of a jet also varies with atmospheric conditions. NASAand the US Federal Aviation Administrationhave been promoting Very Light Jets: small general aviationaircraft seating 4 to 8 passengers.
Most people use the term 'jet aircraft' to denote gas turbine based airbreathing jet engines, but rockets and scramjets are both also propelled by jets.
The fastest airbreathing jet aircraft is the unmanned
X-43scramjet at around Mach 9-10.
The fastest manned (rocket) aircraft is the
X-15at Mach 6.85.
Space Shuttle, while far faster than the X-43 or X-15, is not regarded as a jet aircraft during ascent (although aerodynamic lift is used during some parts of this phase of operationFact|date=March 2008), nor during reentry and landing (as it is unpowered during this phase of operation).
* [http://www.aircraft-info.net/aircraft/jet_aircraft/ Aircraft-Info.net - Jet Aircraft]
* [http://www.aerospaceweb.org/question/performance/q0023.shtml Aircraft Speed Records]
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