Home Research For Teachers HISTORY
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Search Hot Links What's New!
Gallery Feedback Admin/Tools

Please let me remind all of you--this material is copyrighted. Though partially funded by NASA, it is still a private site. Therefore, before using our materials in any form, electronic or otherwise, you need to ask permission.
There are two ways to browse the site: (1) use the search button above to find specific materials using keywords; or,
(2) go to specific headings like history, principles or careers at specific levels above and click on the button. 
Teachers may go directly to the Teachers' Guide from the For Teachers button above or site browse as in (1) and  (2).

FAQnewred.gif (906 bytes)          


Heinkel.jpg (3182 bytes)

Just one week before the outbreak of World War II, Germany flew the world's first jet aircraft. That plane was the Heinkel He-178 which, had its development been pushed, might have altered the course of history.

The first successful flights of the world's first turbojet-propelled airplane took place over a German forest on August 24 and  27, 1939, with Luftwaffe Captain Erich Warsitz at the controls.  The tiny Heinkel HeS38 jet engine that powered the He-178 produced only 838 pounds of static thrust.  But that  was enough to push small single-seat monoplane to a speed of well over 400 miles per hour. Thus, even in its earliest test flights this remarkable aircraft demonstrated performance superior to that of many operational fighters.

The Heinkel jet engine was the brainchild of a brilliant young German scientist named Pabst von Ohain, who was only 25 years old  when the  He-178 made aviation history. The aircraft itself was designed by Heinkel engineers, working under the personal direction of Ernst Heinkel, head of the Heinkel aircraft manufacturing company. That firm financed the development of the He-178 without either the knowledge or financial support of the Nazi government.

The 4,400-pound Heinkel He-178 was literally built around the Ohain engine.  It had a barrel shaped 24-foot-long metal fuselage,with stubby 23-foot wooden wings mounted high on its sides. The aircraft utilized the conventional three-point retractable landing gear, rather than tricycle configuration which was later adopted for other jets.

Despite the He-178's spectacular performance, the German Air Force at first showed scant interest in the plane.  It wasn't until October 1939 that high-ranking air force officers agreed to inspect it, and although the He-178 clearly had great potential, it was never produced in quantity.  Slow to push development work, the German Air Force didn't have an operational jet fighter plane until August 1944, too late to have a decisive effect on the outcome of World War II.

Nevertheless. through the foresight of Ernst Heinkel and the brilliant engineering of Pabst von Ohain, the He-178 ushered in the jet age.

The preceding information was extracted from the pamphlet,
"The Great Airplanes Sterling Silver Miniature Collection", published by The Franklin Mint, 1979.
Permission was granted to ALLSTAR by The Franklin Mint to use the preceding materials.
ALLSTAR maintains the copyright for the format in which the material is presented.

Send all comments to allstar@fiu.edu
1995-2018 ALLSTAR Network. All rights reserved worldwide.

Funded in part by Used with permission from The Franklin Mint

newben.gif (11399 bytes)

Updated: March 12, 2004