The Fighter Jet’s Flight Through Time:
A look at the past, present, and future of the fighter jet
Imagine moving at 1,200 miles per hour, thousands of feet from the surface of the earth in a jet made and renowned for its speed and precision. Picture yourself looking ahead and seeing the blur of motion that is the air and atmosphere in front of you then looking up and seeing not blue sky, but black; the black of space and the white specs of stars The thrill is nearly inconceivable to anyone who hasn’t experienced it person. The modern fighter jet is the mechanical manifestation of years of research and experience to create the fastest, most efficient plane for combat, stealth, and speed. The fighter jet has a very fascinating past, a very innovative present-day design, and a future that will blow modern standards out of the sky.
As unlikely as it seems, the first drawings of a fighter jet were around the year 100 A.D. by Hero of Alexandria. In his design, the “jet” was operated by a simple steam turbine. Many centuries later in 1867, two men, James Butler and E. Edwards designed a flying vehicle also powered by steam. Their design was based on the paper airplane. The design and theory created by these two men never escaped the realm of theory though. Through the thesis and designs of many other great minds such as, the Wright Brothers, Henri Coanda, and Whittle, the first successful jet engine flight was done in Germany in September of 1937 by von Ohain. His design was powered by a gasoline combustor and a plane created mainly around being as light as possible. The fighter jet engines started mass production at the beginning of World War I as preparation for the battles. These first fighter jets were designed for very short trips and were able to produce about 1325 pounds of thrust.(Scott) By the 1950’s, the design of fighter jets were becoming exponentially more efficient. Planes were being...
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