Every since the dawn of time man has trailed for miles and miles to get to a certain destination. In the beginning man walked for weeks to get around. Then as civilization grew and developed man traveled on animals but this still took large amounts of time. Then starting around the turn of the century man used his own knowledge to get himself to his desired destinations. First, the car and train were great improvements to horse and buggy. Then the plane was developed and life would never be the same. Then in 1939 the jet engine was introduced. With wider range and more speed the world was united in a new way.

The growing tensions that led to World War II (1939-1945) accelerated the development of jet engines from propeller aircraft. The first flight of a jet airplane occurred in Germany in 1939. A turbojet designed by Hans Von Ohain, a German physicist, powered this airplane, the Heinkel He-178. In Italy, the jet-propelled Caproni-Campini CC2 airplane was built and flown in 1940. Neither of these first two jet aircraft engines proved practical. Frank Whittle, an officer in the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force, soon developed a more successful turbojet. Whittle had patented a design for a turbojet in 1930. His engine powered the Gloster E. 28/39, an experimental airplane that first flew in 1941. The first successful jet fighter was the German Messerschmitt Me262, which began to fly combat missions near the end of World War II. The advancement from prop-planes to the jet engine presented new problems for aircraft designers to solve like new aerodynamic factors and new forces with which propeller-driven aircraft previously had not had to deal with, most notably the sound barrier. In order to explore these new realms, the airplane had to be redesigned. The age of the jet aircraft had begun.

Right now the jet aircraft is used all over the world in every form of business. It is used as a commercial plane to carry man and cargo around the world. Travel in a jet plane has been called the safest and fastest form of travel. With today’s high-performance planes this modern culture can stay together with friends and family across oceans. The fastest airplane to carry passengers is the Concorde. A Concorde can reach speeds up to and exceeding Mach 2(twice the speed of sound). Also jet aircraft can be used to transport airmail throughout the world. Another use for the jet engine is the military. Jet airplanes, such as the F-22, have gigantic payloads to be filled with missiles and bombs. With these huge payloads the aircraft can have a variety of strength in any form of combat. A large improvement to the jet engine is stealth technology. Stealth planes have the capability of being practically invisible to radar. With a special modified jet engine to produce less heat, stealth plans can go where they need to with little resistance. During Operation Desert Storm the jet aircraft proved itself the dominant weapon of war. The military used its jet aircraft, such as the stealth, to get into the range of their targets and destroy them with deadly percussion. Due to the jet aircraft thousands of US soldiers were kept at a safe distance, and the war won.

In the future jet aircraft will be pushed to go even faster and higher. In the future the engine will be modified to fly into space and back to earth without effort. Such a plane is already being developed. The twin-turbofan Proteus, which will soon make its first flight, has a modular design for use in a variety of high-altitude missions, including manned or unmanned reconnaissance, environmental research, and even launching vehicles into space. Another new idea for the jet aircraft is for it to be bigger and faster. New designs are going forth with no windows in the cockpit. The pilots will be able to see through computer screens of the runway and whatever else the pilot wishes to see. By doing this the engineers can make the plane more aerodynamic, and increase the airplanes supersonic capabilities. In the further future, jet aircraft will have no pilot at all. Someone will just tell a robot were to go and the robot will fly there. This will save even more room and provide a pilot that is incapable of “pilot error” which is the reason 90% of aircraft accidents occur. Just wait, there will be a day that we all trust our lives in the hand of a robot pilot.

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