NASA Dryden Flight Research Center Photo Collection http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/gallery/photo/index.html NASA Photo: EC99-44921-1 Date: 1999 (X-33 artist concept - 1999)
Powered flight is a twentieth-century invention. The era of powered flight began on December 17, 1903 with the Wright brothers who designed, fabricated, and flew “The Flyer” in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The power onboard The Flyer was a gas powered, 12-hp reciprocating intermittent combustion engine. This type of engine, with a propeller, provided power to all (manned) aircraft until late 1930s. The history of aircraft gas turbine engine started in January 1930 with a patent issued to Frank Whittle in Great Britain. Figure 1.1 shows a p–v diagram and components of the Whittle engine as they appeared in the patent application. The flow pattern and engine assembly are shown in Figure 1.2. The performance of the W1 engine and the aircraft that flew it are shown in Figure 1.3. An engineer at work, Sir Frank Whittle, the inventor of jet engine, with a slide rule is shown in Figure 1.4. For more details on the Whittle turbojet see Meher-Homji (1997).