Heinkel He 178 was the world's first aircraft to fly under turbojet power, and the first practical jet aircraft. It was a private venture by the German Heinkel company in accordance with director Ernst Heinkel's emphasis on developing technology for high-speed flight. It first flew on 27 August 1939, piloted by Erich Warsitz
The jet engine was patented in 1930 by a young British Royal Air Force pilot, Frank Whittle (later Sir Frank). He had great difficulty convincing anyone that it would be useful. Things were different in Germany. When Hans von Ohain thought up a similar engine, it was immediately taken up by a major place company. The first jet plane, a Heinkel HE-178, flew from a German airfield in 1939, two years before the first British jet flight.
With the support of German plane manufacturer Heinkel, Von Ohain’s improved turbojet design is the first to be built and tested. The first jet-propelled aircraft, the Heinkel He 178, flies in August 1939
✠ The world's first jet pilot, Luftwaffe Flugkapitän Erich Karl Warsitz. On 27 August 1939 he flew the Heinkel He 178 jet aircraft. He would also fly the first ever rocket-plane. Von Brown had furthermore intended him to go to the moon. Instead, the He 178 was destroyed by 'Allied' bombing, Von Brown ended up working for the USA and Warsitz, having refused to work for the USSR, was sentenced to forced labour for 'war crimes' (seen here after his 1950 release).