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Aircraft propulsion from the back room

  • William Hawthorne (a1)

Extract

To whom must the praise be given? To the boys in the back rooms

On the 15th May 1941 a small aircraft landed at Cranwell after a flight lasting 17 minutes. The pilot, Fl. Lt. P. E. G. Sayer, got out of the aircraft and was immediately surrounded by an excited group wanting to know how the machine had performed. He answered questions standing by the aircraft and reading from the notes on his knee pad, which he copied on to the paper as shown in Fig. 1. This flight, the first of a Whittle turbojet propelled aircraft, started a new era in aviation. It also marked the beginning of the rapid development of a new heat engine, the fifth since Newcomen’s steam engine.

As you can see from the pilot’s notes, the performance of the E28/39 aircraft in that first flight was modest. An Indicated Air Speed (IAS) of 240 mph was reached. That it was powered by a turbojet can be seen from the readings of rpm, jet pipe temperature, etc. This first engine developed about 850 lb take-off thrust and weighed some 700 lb.

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References

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2. Whittle, F. Jet. The story of a pioneer. F. Muller, 1953. Pan Books, 1957.
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11. Constant, H. The internal combustion turbine as a power plant for aircraft. RAE Note E3546, March 1937 (unpublished).
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Original papers—The present basis of axial flow compressor design: Part I, Cascade theory and performance, RAE Report E3946, June 1942. Part II, Compressor theory and performance, RAE Report E3961, December 1942.
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25. Carrick, H. B. Secondary flow and losses in turbine cascades with inlet skew. PhD thesis, University of Cambridge, October 1975.

Aircraft propulsion from the back room

  • William Hawthorne (a1)

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