The wartime German jet engines offered a step forward over piston power — but a qualified one

Trailing a long plume of tyre smoke, Me 262A-2a Werknummer 500200 lands at Farnborough during 1945 in the hands of RAE Aerodynamics Flight commanding officer Sqn Ldr Tony Martindale, with many other captured German types in the background. Allied evaluation of the German jets, and their engines, proved very insightful.

In flight, most pilots were delighted with the handling characteristics of the German jet aircraft, and enjoyed the lack of noise and vibration compared to piston powerplants. The Achilles’ heel of early jet engines was their throttle response: not only did they spool up slowly — some 15 seconds from idle to full power — but any large changes in throttle setting could lead to overheating and turbine failure. In the Jumo 004, rough handling could raise the turbine temperature by 200°C. Later engine marks were slightly less sensitive, and incorporated governors in the throttle and fuel system to reduce the engine’s response to throttle movements, but this was not effective at lower rpm and at altitude.

Become a Premium Member to Read More

This is a premium article and requires an active Key.Aero subscription to view.

I’m an existing member, sign me in!

I don’t have a subscription…

Enjoy the following subscriber only benefits:

  • Unlimited access to all KeyAero content
  • Exclusive in-depth articles and analysis, videos, quizzes added daily
  • A fully searchable archive – boasting hundreds of thousands of pieces of quality aviation content
  • Access to read all our leading aviation magazines online - meaning you can enjoy the likes of FlyPast, Aeroplane Monthly, AirForces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, Aviation News, Airports of the World, PC Pilot and Airliner World - as soon as they leave the editor’s desk.
  • Access on any device- anywhere, anytime
  • Choose from our offers below