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Up, Up and Away


Kevin Lofberg


Americans are one of the luckiest people in the world. We are very fortunate because we have one of the greatest inventions inthe world, the jet and the jet engine.

The first jet engine was built about 2,000 years ago. It was run by steam. The steam went through tubes into a ball. Steam cameout of the ball from bent pipes and caused the ball to rotate. Very simple,indeed, compared to our engine.

The jet propulsion principal is a reaction type process. Something pushing out moves the object away. It is really very simple,air and fuel are burned so pressure builds up, the jet engine pushes thisout as exhaust, which makes thrust, and this is what moves the jet. Althoughthe first engine was very simple, people couldn't understand its use soit was forgotten.

Then, in 1903, an artist proposed a helicopter poweredby a steam-jet engine but no one took interest in this idea.

In the late 1920's, scientists and engineers began to learnthat jet engines were very much possible in their world. They started toexperiment with engines and metals that would withstand high temperature.

The first patent on a jet engine was made by Frank Whittlein 1930. This investment later made Whittle a millionaire.

In 1938, Rene Heduc made a model of a jet plane and displayedit at the French Aircraft Fair. Everyone thought that the model was theimpossible dream of a madman. His design is related very closely to ourmodern day jet.

The first jet was flown in 1939. The Germans were giventhe credit for flying the first jet plane. The flight was not a successfulone but despite this, the Italians flew the jet in 1940.

The first jet plane in the U.S. was flown by Robert Stanleyin 1942. It was a complete success and the American scientists began towork out new and better ways to fly a jet plane.

The first country to use the jet engine in a war planewas Germany. After the Second World War got started, the Germans had theedge because the jet engine planes were much better.

After the first year of the war, the Americans also developeda fighter plane with a jet propelled engine. The American plane was fasterbut harder to handle than the German plane.

The Americans also built the first plane that was fasterthan sound. This was the Bell X-1. It was launched by a bomber flyingin the air. It was powered by a rocket engine.

During the third year of the war, Germany added jet poweredmissiles to their arsenal. These missiles could be remote controlled andwent twice the speed of sound.

Jet engines have been used to power helicopters too. Itworks ideally on a helicopter because it enables a "chopper" toturn much faster.

The development of passenger jets has also had an interestingpast. The first passenger jet flight flew between London and Johannesburg,South Africa. This flight took place in 1952.

Since that time, jets have been getting better and better. They have been improved to the point that they can fly anywhere in theworld in a day and scientists are still working to better this feat formankind.



World Book Encyclopedia, Volume 9, I-J


World Book Encyclopedia, Volume 9, I-J