Ohain, Hans Joachim Pabst von

SUBJECT AREA: Aerospace
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b. 14 December 1911 Dessau, Germany
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German engineer who designed the first jet engine to power an aeroplane successfully.
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Von Ohain studied engineering at the University of Göttingen, where he carried out research on gas-turbine engines, and centrifugal compressors in particular. In 1935 he patented a design for a jet engine (in Britain, Frank Whittle patented his jet-engine design in 1930). Von Ohain was recruited by the Heinkel company in 1936 to develop an engine for a jet aircraft. Ernst Heinkel was impressed by von Ohain's ideas and gave the project a high priority. The first engine was bench tested in September 1937. A more powerful version was developed and tested in air, suspended beneath a Heinkel dive-bomber, during the spring of 1939. A new airframe was designed to house the revolutionary power plant and designated the Heinkel He 178. A short flight was made on 24 August 1939 and the first recognized flight on 27 August. This important achievement received only a lukewarm response from the German authorities. Von Ohain's turbojet engine had a centrifugal compressor and developed a thrust of 380 kg (837 lb). An improved, more powerful, engine was developed and installed in a new twin-engined fighter design, the He 280. This flew on 2 April 1941 but never progressed beyond the prototype stage. By this time two other German companies, BMW and Junkers, were constructing successful turbojets with axial compressors: luckily for the Allies, Hitler was reluctant to pour his hard-pressed resources into this new breed of jet fighters. After the war, von Ohain emigrated to the United States and worked for the Air Force there.
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Bibliography
1929, "The evolution and future of aeropropulsion system", The Jet Age. 40 Years of Jet Aviation, Washington, DC: National Air \& Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
Further Reading
Von Ohain's work is described in many books covering the history of aviation, and aero engines in particular, for example: R.Schlaifer and S.D.Heron, 1950, Development of Aircraft Engines and fuels, Boston. G.G.Smith, 1955, Gas Turbines and Jet Propulsion.
Grover Heiman, 1963, Jet Pioneers.
JDS

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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