Jet engines enabled aircraft to fly farther, faster, and at less cost than piston engine aircraft could.
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:
National Air and Space Museum
Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum
Sir Frank Whittle
Gift of Power Jets, Ltd.
From GE I-A : Diameter 105 cm (41.2 in.), Length 178 cm (70 in.)
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Country of Origin
- 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)
Explore Object Connections
The Bell XP-59A was the first U.S. military jet aircraft and used the Whittle engine.
America’s first operational jet fighter was powered by a Whittle-style centrifugal flow turbojet.
The National Academy of Engineering’s Draper Prize was presented to Hans von Ohain and Frank Whittle jointly for the invention of the turbo-jet engine in 1991.
The first jet engines were invented at the same time, the Whittle W.1X in Great Britain and Jumo 004B in Germany.