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Since their origins in Germany and Great Britain on the eve of World War II, turbojet engines have transformed military and commercial aviation. They have made possible aircraft that can fly farther, faster, and higher and that are larger and more efficient than piston-engine aircraft. Jet Aviation traces the development of this technology and features many important turbojet engines introduced over four decades, along with three airplanes that helped usher in the jet age.
The gallery's centerpieces are two jet-age milestones: a German Messerschmitt Me 262, the world's first operational jet fighter, and the Lockheed XP-80 Lulu Belle, the prototype for the first full-production, operational U.S. jet fighter. The gallery's third airplane, a McDonnell FH-1 Phantom, was the first jet fighter used by the Navy and Marine Corps.