Whittle W.1X Engine

Jet engines enabled aircraft to fly farther, faster, and at less cost than piston engine aircraft could.

Display Status:

This object is on display in the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

Collection Item Summary:

The Whittle W1X was one of two similar engines, W1X and W1, designed by Sir Frank Whittle and developed by Power Jets, Ltd., in the United Kingdom, during the period 1939-1941. The experimental W1X powered the British Gloster E.28/39 aircraft for taxiing trials in April 1941. During these tests, the aircraft made short, straight hops, causing the W1X to become unofficially the first British turbojet to be airborne. The Gloster E. 28/39 is portrayed in the Keith Ferris mural in the gallery.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum


Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum


Sir Frank Whittle

Credit Line

Gift of Power Jets, Ltd.




Overall: 161.3 × 121.9 × 111.8cm, 254kg (5 ft. 3 1/2 in. × 4 ft. × 3 ft. 8 in., 560lb.)

Country of Origin

United Kingdom



Physical Description

  • Type: Turbojet
  • Thrust: 5,516 N (1,240 lb) at 17,750 rpm, 3,781 N (850 lb) at 16,500 rpm (Derated for first flight)
  • Compressor: Single-stage, double entry, centrifugal
  • Combustor: 10 reverse flow chambers
  • Turbine: Single- stage axial
  • Weight: 254 kg (560 lb)


PROPULSION-Turbines (Jet)

Inventory Number


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