Jet Engine

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Frank Whittle History

Frank Whittle was born on June 1, 1907, in the United Kingdom. He took an interest in engineering and flying at an early age, and it was at 15 that he became truly interested in becoming a pilot. However, because of certain physical limitations, Whittle was turned down by the British Royal Air Force the first time. Determined to be a pilot, he pushed on and overcame his physical issues; he was then finally let into the RAF, and became an engineer officer and a pilot. It was in the 1920s that Whittle came up with the jet engine. However, when he presented his idea to the Air Ministry they were unimpressed and rejected his idea. Unaffected by this turn of events Whittle patented his “turbojet engine” in 1930. His design solved the problem that many inventors had faced: how do you make a chamber strong enough to hold and engine that would emit high temperatures and direct thrust? Whittle died on August 9, 1996 at the age of 89 of lung cancer.

Jet Engine and How it Works

As we all know the jet engine is in wide use today. In fact, we seldom see a propeller powered aircraft that’s used for commercial flights. The jet engine that we use today has changed from Whittle’s original model. While the first jet engine funneled air into several smaller chambers within the engine, to solve the problem of no single chamber being strong enough to house an engine with intense force, the modern high-bypass turbofan is a single stage unit. Over the years many different designs have been made.

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The Significance of the Jet Engine in the 1950s

The first plane to use Whittle’s jet engine was the Gloster E2839, taking flight on May 15, 1941. Although the jet was able to fly at 380 mph, it could only travel 125 miles; while earlier planes flew at 140 mph, but could travel 4,100 miles. This didn't stop the commercial airline business from booming though, going from a small business for only the rich in the early 1950s, to a way to travel in the 1960s. The invention allowed the unthinkable; the ability to travel overseas in just hours, instead of the days it would take by boat. The first proper passenger jet is considered to be the De Haviland Comet, which was widely popular at the time. However, it was taken out of the air after two years because of issues with its fuselage, causing the plane to fall apart in mid-air. The Boeing 707 entered the service in 1958, allowing safe transport for passengers at high speeds. Since then the jet engine has taken over the skies.
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