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Sir Frank Whittle's jet aircraft engine was patented in 1932, and Power Jets, Ltd. formed in 1936. The Whittle Unit bench test engine first ran on April 12, 1937. In 1939, the British Air Ministry placed a contract for the W.1 engine to be flight tested on the new Gloster E.28/39 aircraft. During taxiing tests, the W.1X non-airworthy engine unofficially became the first British turbojet to be airborne when the E.28/39 made short, straight hops. The W.1 flew officially in the E.28/39 on May 15, 1941.

The W.1X and drawings of the W.2B production engine were delivered to the General Electric Company on October 1, 1941. GE's improved and uprated version, the IA, powered the first U.S. jet aircraft, the Bell XP-59A Airacomet on October 2, 1942. At the end of its useful life, the W.1X was returned to England. On November 8, 1949, the W.1X was presented to the Smithsonian by Power Jets, Ltd.

Display Status This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.
Object Details
Key Accomplisment(s) Pioneering Turbojet Engine Brief Description This is one of the first turbojet engines. British engineer Sir Frank Whittle patented his pioneering design in 1932. The engine first flew on the E.28/39 in 1941 marking the unofficial first flight of a British jet aircraft. Date 1941 Country of Origin United Kingdom Type PROPULSION-Turbines (Jet) Manufacturer Power Jets, Ltd. (London, England) 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) Dimensions Overall: 161.3 × 121.9 × 111.8cm, 254kg (5 ft. 3 1/2 in. × 4 ft. × 3 ft. 8 in., 560lb.)
Materials metal
Alternate Name Whittle W.1X Engine Inventory Number A19500082000 Credit Line Gift of Power Jets, Ltd. Data Source National Air and Space Museum Restrictions & Rights Open Access (CCO)
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