Articles, Get Inspired, Pathfinder ORIGIN

The Jet Engine


11th - 20th March 2022
There is a proverb in English - necessity is the mother of invention. Its origin dates back to Plato's Republic. So for British Science Week, we will be looking at a few innovations from the Second World War. Some were unique to that moment in time, but some have stayed with us to this day.
Early in the career of Frank Whittle he recognised the potential demand for an aircraft that would be able to fly at great speed and height, and he first put forth his vision of jet propulsion in 1928, in his senior thesis at the RAF College. The young officer’s ideas were ridiculed by the Air Ministry as impractical, however, and attracted support from neither the government nor private industry.
The outbreak of World War II finally spurred the British government into supporting Whittle’s development work. A jet engine of his invention was fitted to a specially built Gloster E.28/39 airframe, and the plane’s maiden flight took place on May 15, 1941.