THE WORLD'S FIRST JET PILOT

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by warsitz, Nov 11, 2009.

  1. warsitz

    warsitz New Member

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    Dear Aviation History Enthusiasts,

    My father – Flight Captain Erich Warsitz – is remembered as the first person to fly an aircraft under turbojet power, the Heinkel He 178, on August 27, 1939 and also the first to fly an aircraft under liquid-fueled rocket power, the Heinkel He 176, on June 20 the same year, setting two milestones in aviation history.

    Late in 1936 he was seconded by the RLM (Reich Air Ministry) to Wernher von Braun and Ernst Heinkel, because he had been recognized as one of the most experienced test-pilots of the time, and because he also had an extraordinary fund of technical knowledge. Little is known of this pioneer period because of the strict secrecy which shrouded the whole project!

    You will find a lot of information about Erich Warsitz and his achievements under Erich Warsitz - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia or either under http://www.firstjetpilot.com/history.html inclusive rare video footage and audio commentaries by von Braun and my father.

    It’s a little unfortunate that the He 178 quite often doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. After all, every other turbine propelled aircraft that has graced or is now gracing our skies has, at best, come second place to it.

    Fly save,

    Lutz Warsitz
     
  2. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    Hi Lutz
    nice to have you on board
    is there a planned book of your father's exploits?
     
  3. marshall

    marshall Member

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    Welcome.
    What a coincidence yesterday I was reading about the history of jet engine and the He 178 and today I see this thread.
     
  4. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    Before the rocket powered Heinkel He 176 flew, weren't they testing the rocket engine on a He 112? And didn't I read that on one flight the piston engine packed-up and THAT was the first rocket power aircraft flight? Was that your father also?

    What about the Opel/Sanders rocket powered gliders? When did they fly? It's hard to tell the players without a score card.

    Great to have you with us. I saw an article recently about your dad, but I think the official painting that was comissioned of the flight showed a "fanciful" dipiction of the He 178 (or He 176) with an elongated "glass" nose.

    Regards!
     
  5. warsitz

    warsitz New Member

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    Many thanks for kind welcome and your interest!

    Fritz Stamer made the world’s first glider flight using a solid fuel propellant on 11 June 1928. On 30 September 1929 Fritz von Opel made the first official rocket-assisted take-off.

    Erich Warsitz tested the first liquid-fuel rocket engines on a He 112 at Neuhardenberg in 1937. First he test-flew Wernher von Braun's rocket engine (once in the air he was forced to shut down the Jumo piston engine, so one could say that this was the first rocket flight, but the He 176 was the first pure rocket airplane). Despite the wheels-up landing and having the He 112 fuselage on fire, it proved to official circles that an aircraft could be flown satisfactorily with a back-thrust system through the rear. The subsequent flights with the He 112 used the Walter-rocket instead of von Braun's; it was more reliable, simpler to operate and the dangers to my father and machine were less.
    At Neuhardenberg (1937), my father also tested Walter's assisted take-off rocket boosters on a He 111. There are some videos of both airplanes under http://www.firstjetpilot.com/history3.html?id=20&start=12 and http://www.firstjetpilot.com/archive.html

    If I could see the painting of the article I could tell you more. But I do believe you mean the painting by Hans Liska showing my father after his first flight with the He 176. In which magazine was it?

    Meanwhile best wishes,

    Lutz
     
  6. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    I can check when I get home, but if I remember correctly it is the current issue of Air Classics magazine.
     
  7. Marcel

    Marcel Well-Known Member

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    Hi Lutz,
    Herzlich wilkommen zu uner forum.

    I think Lutz already wrote that:
     
  8. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    Warsitz,

    It was in Air Classics Volume 45, number 10 in an article titled "1st Jet Pilot" starting on page 19. The painting in question is on page 19 also. I contend that it depicts the fictitious rendition of the rocket Heinkel that many books have propagated as fact. I have seen a picture of that actual plane in an old Flug. magazine.

    Capt. Vick
     
  9. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Welcome to the forum, Lutz! Great info on your dad. If you have any more stories of his service, many would love to hear them on here.
     
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