The credit of inventing jet engine goes to Air Commodore Sir Frank Whittle. He was a British Royal Air Force (RAF) engineer air officer. He is credited with single handedly inventing the turbojet engine. Whittle's engines were developed some years earlier than those of Germany's Dr. Hans von Ohain who was the designer of the first operational jet engine.
Frank Whittle was born on 1 June 1907 in Coventry, the son of a mechanic. He qualified as a pilot officer in RAF in 1928. In 1935, Whittle secured financial backing and, with Royal Air Force approval, Power Jets Ltd was formed. They began constructing a test engine in July 1936, but it proved inconclusive. Whittle concluded that a complete rebuild was required, but lacked the necessary finances. Protracted negotiations with the Air Ministry followed and the project was secured in 1940. By April 1941, the engine was ready for tests. The first flight was made on 15 May 1941. By October the United States had heard of the project and asked for the details and an engine. A Power Jets team and the engine were flown to Washington to enable General Electric to examine it and begin construction. The Americans worked quickly and their XP-59A Airacomet was airborne in October 1942, some time before the British Meteor, which became operational in 1944. Whittle retired from the RAF in 1948 with the rank of air commodore.