Jetting ahead of the propeller engine

The jet engine rapidly overtook the propeller engine in the 1930s. Taking us to higher heights at faster speeds with more reliability and comfort. John Denver probably wouldn’t have had the same success if his famed song has been entitled “Leaving on a Propeller Engine Plane”.

Frank Whittle is credited with inventing it. And in 1932 he submitted his first patent, No.347,206, which showed a design for a two-stage axial compressor feeding a single-sided centrifugal compressor. Around the same time, Hans von Ohain in Germany, took advantage of better funding and backing to develop the jet plane that first took off in 1939.

The arrival of jet engines meant that longer distances could be travelled in a shorter time. The fastest commercial jet plane was the record-breaking Concorde which could travel at twice the speed of sound. Famous for its supersonic speed, it earned the title of swiftest ever transatlantic passenger flight, flying from New York to London in just 2 hours, 52 minutes and 59 seconds.

As big as a car
The Airbus A380 houses four Rolls Royce engines that are each the length of a Mercedes sedan. And when in operation, these jet engines reach a temperature of 3100°F.