Britain's first jet-propelled aircraft; also known as the Gloster Pioneer,
Gloster Whittle, and Gloster G.40. It was built in 1940 at the Gloster aircraft
company by a team led by W. G. Carter, to meet a specification known as
E.28/39 (the 28th "Experimental" specification issued by the Air Ministry
in 1939), with the primary objective of test flying a variety of turbojet
engines developed by Frank Whittle.
The possibility was envisaged of the aircraft going into production a night
fighter. In the event this didn't happen, although experience gained with
the E.28/39 proved valuable in the development of Britain's first operational
jet fighter, the Gloster Meteor.
Two prototypes of the Gloster E.28/39 were built. The first (W4041) was
equipped with a W.1 engine and made its maiden flight on May 15, 1941. The
second (W4046) was propelled by a somewhat more powerful Rover-built W.2B
turbojet and first flew on Mar. 1, 1943. Other engines were fitted subsequently
to both prototypes. The W4041 prototype survived the war (and is now on
display in the Science Museum in London) but the W4046 was lost on Jul.
30, 1943, after entering an inverted spin (the test pilot successfully bailed
The Gloster E.28/39 was preceded by the German Heinkel
178 – the first aircraft to fly under jet power.
||7.71 m (25 ft 3.75 in)
||8.84 m (29 ft 4 in)
||2.70 m (8 ft 10 in)
||13.6 m2 (146 ft2)
||1,309 kg (2,886 lb)
|Max. takeoff weight
||1,699 kg (3,748 lb)
||1 × Power Jets W.1 turbojet, 860 lb.ft (3.8
|Max. speed (at 10,000 ft)
||749 km/h (466 mph)