General Introduction
Jet Planes and WW2
How It Works
Other Useful Material
Other Useful Material

General Timeline of the Jet Engine

120-150 BC Hero demonstrates the principles of jet reactions.
1232 The Chinese begin to use rockets as weapons.
1500 Leonardo da Vinci sketched a contraption, the chimney jack, that rotated due to the effects of hot gases flowing up a chimney.
1629 Giovanni Branca develops a stamping mill that utilized jets of steam to operate the machinery.
1687 Sir Isaac Newton presents his three laws of motion. These form the basis for modern propulsion theory.
1791 John Barber applies and receives the first patent for a simple turbine machine.
1872 First true gas turbine engine designed by Dr. F. Stolze.
1897 Steam turbine used to power a ship.
1918 General Electric (GE) starts gas turbine division.
1930 Sir Frank Whittle of England patents his design for a gas turbine for jet propulsion.
1936 Hans von Ohian and Max Hahn of Germany develop and patent their own design.
1939 In August, the company Ernst Heinkel Aircraft flies the first gas turbine jet plane, the HE178.
1941 Sir Frank Whittle designs the first successful turbojet, the Gloster Meteor.
1942 Dr. Franz Anselm develops the axial-flow turbojet, Junkers Jumo 004, used in the Messerschmitt Me 262, the world’s first operational jet fighter.
1948 First turbojet breaks sound barrier.
1949 First use of turbojet for commercial service.
1955 First use of reheat to increase thrust of turbojet.

Definitions of Useful Terms

AFTERBURNER- A device which doubles the power of a fighter engine. Fuel is sprayed into the exhaust duct and mixed with the hot air blown back by the engine. It is then ignited, producing a powerful ‘blow torch’ which rushes out of the nozzle at the rear of the exhaust.

ALLOY- The mixture of two or more metals. Alloys not only benefit from the best properties of each of the metals in the composition but will sometimes have extra strength or flexibility.

CARBURETTOR- A device used on a piston engine to mix fuel and air in exactly the right amounts before it is drawn into the engine for ignition.

CASTING- The process by which a piece of sculpted metal is produced by pouring molten metal into a mould.


COMBUSTION CHAMBER- The part of a jet engine where high pressure air from the compressor is mixed with fuel and is then burned.

COMPRESSOR- The compressor is the center of the jet engine. It is composed of a series of spinning blades that suck air through an inlet and compress the air. It is then passed on to the combustion chamber in which it is burned.

CORE- The high- pressure section of the jet engine. It is comprised of the high-pressure compressor, the combustion chamber and the turbine.

COWLING- The smooth metal shroud that surrounds the engine.

DISC- The part of the engine that holds the rotating blades of the jet engine are attached.

EXHAUST PIPE- The tube-like structure at the rear of the engine that discharges the hot air of the jet.

GENERATOR- The device that produces the electrical power for the aircraft.

IGNITER- Instrument used to ignite the mixture of fuel and compressed air upon entering the combustion chamber.

NOZZLE- The device at the rear of the exhaust duct through which the jet travels before meeting the atmosphere.

PYLON- The metal structure connecting the engine to the wing.

ROOT- The part of the compressor or turbine blade which keeps it attached to the disc.

STAGE- The name given to the row of blades in a jet engine.

SUBSONIC- Below the speed of sound.

SUPERSONIC- Above the speed of sound.

THRUST REVERSER- A device used to reverse the flow of air to help slow the aircraft when landing.

TURBINE- The machine that drives the compressor. It runs on the hot gases that rush from the combustor.