Gloster-Whittle E28/39 cockpit, 1941.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The E28/39 was the first allied jet aircraft. It first flew on 8 May 1941 while on taxiing trials, although the first official flight took place on 15 May 1941. The airframe of the plane was built by the Gloster aircraft company, and it proved the turbojet concept which had been under development by Frank Whittle (1907-1996) and his company since 1936. The E28/39 was the first real proof that jet propulsion was a viable alternative to the propeller.