The creation of the jet engine is one of the most critical engineering accomplishments in the history of humanity. The jet engine shrunk the world and made nearly every part of the world accessible (Kellner, 2014). In 2014, the Bloomberg's Businessweek compiled a list of the most definitive annual ideas for every year it had existed. The invention of the jet engine tops the list as the most disruptive occurrence since the 1929 crash of the Wall Street (Kellner, 2014). The jet engine transformed air travel in many ways. It made airplanes faster, flying tickets affordable, and allowed for bigger planes to be built. In short, it caused flying to be more mainstream, which changed the world's social, economic, and political outlook permanently.
The creation of first jet engines independently occurred in Britain and Germany. In Britain, Frank Whittle built the first successful model (Kellner, 2014). At the same time, Hans von Ohain was working on a similar design in Germany (NASA, 2014). The first gas turbine engine airplane was the German Heinkel He 178, which flew successfully in August 1939 (NASA, 2014). The flight was the world's first turbojet thrust one (NASA, 2014). The Whittle engine flew successfully in May 1941. The engine comprised of "a multistage compressor, and a combustion chamber, a single stage turbine and a nozzle" (NASA, 2014, para. 19). These developments significantly altered the world.
Before the advent of the jet engine, air travel was time consuming, tedious, and expensive. Only a handful of people could afford flights' tickets. For instance, in 1945, a one-way trip across the Atlantic took fourteen hours (Roll Royce, 2015). A person needed three months of average earnings to pay for the cheapest air ticket to London from New York in 1952 (Roll Royce, 2015). But in 2003, saving for the same journey would only take four days of average earnings (Roll Royce, 2015). Additionally, the time needed to take the trip dropped to only eight hours (Roll Royce, 2015). As a result, the jet engine invention made air travel more reliable and convenient. Accordingly, it changed the lives of millions of people.
The jet engine also significantly altered how wars are fought (Roll Royce, 2015). The Second World War, for instance, was dominated by revolutionized air combats (Military History Monthly, 2015). After the war, a competition between industrialized nations followed as those countries raced for dominance in the aviation industry. A lot of resources were invested in the industry for research and development (NASA, 2014). It was that competition that led to the eventual production of larger commercial planes (NASA, 2014).
The jet engine invention also fostered globalization because it enabled people to travel across the globe faster and at a lower cost. The decrease in tickets' prices resulted from the ability of the jet engine to propel bigger planes. The larger aircrafts had more space and more seats. The increase in the number of seats meant cheaper tickets due to the benefits of economies of scale (Dowling, 2014). The advent of the jet engine, thus, made air trips to be readily available and openly accessible to a diverse group of people. Previously, only the rich could afford air tickets (Dowling, 2014). Therefore, there is a consensus among historians that the invention of the jet engine sparked the growth of commercial airliners (Dowling, 2014). The rapid expansion of commercial flights eventually changed people's perception of air travel as well as that of the world in general (Roll Royce, 2015).
The impacts of the jet engine were not just positive ones. It also brought about ecological concerns. The jet engine development resulted in more airplanes traversing the global skyline. It is estimated that more than two billion air tickets are purchased annually (Roll Royce, 2015). According to Dowling (2014), the International Air Transport Association estimates that about eight million individuals fly each day (para. 3). The increase in the use of commercial airplanes rises the emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Additionally, planes' engines burn a lot of fuel. Combining these factors means that the jet engine significantly raises environmental pollution concerns. The implication of the issue is currently an urgent one due to the fear over global warming and climate change (Clark, 2010).
It is evident that the invention of the jet engine revolutionized not only the aviation industry but also the world itself. The invention allowed aeronautics engineers to construct bigger, faster, and more reliable airplanes. Hence, air travel became affordable and readily available to a wider range of individuals. Consequently, commercial flying gained prominence. But not all the effects of the jet engine invention are positive ones. The surge in the use of commercial airplanes causes more emission of carbon dioxide, which results in global warming. Overall, the benefits of the invention surpass the negative consequences. Hence, the jet engine is the most important discovery in the history of aeronautics and humankind., the jet engine is the most important invention in the history of aviation and humankind as well.
Clark, D. (2010, September 9). The surprisingly complex truth about planes and climate change. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2010/sep/09/carbon-emissions-planes-shipping
Dowling, S. (2014, January 1). 100 years of air travel: How planes shrank the globe. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140130-how-air-travel-shrunk-the-globe
NASA. (2014, 12). How does a jet engine work? Retrieved from https://www.grc.nasa.gov/www/k-12/UEET/StudentSite/engines.html
Rolls-Royce Ltd. (2015). The jet engine. London: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
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