First flight of the turbojet-powered aircraft Heinkel He 178 was accomplished this day in 1939. It was the world’s first jet aircraft.
Dr. Hans von Ohain and Sir Frank Whittle are both recognized as the co-inventors of the jet engine. von Ohain designed the first operational turbojet engine and Whittle was the first one to register a patent in 1930. However, Whittle could not afford the £5 renewal fee for his jet engine patent when it became due in January 1935, and because the British Air Ministry refused to pay it the patent was allowed to lapse.
When Whittle first came to know about von Ohain’s engine, he was initially upset as he believed von Ohain’s engine had been developed after seeing his patent. Eventually he became convinced that von Ohain’s work was, in fact, independent. The two became good friends and often toured the U.S. giving talks together.
Publication number: US2404334 A
Patent Title: Aircraft propulsion system and power unit
Publication date: 16 Jul 1946
Filing date: 19 Feb 1941
Priority date: 9 Dec 1939
Inventors: Frank Whittle
Original Assignee: Power Jets Res & Dev Ltd