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SciTech Tuesday: First Flight of the Gloster Meteor

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The Allies’ first operational jet aircraft, the Gloster Meteor, took flight seventy years ago today on March 5, 1943.  Initially used by the Royal Air Force to intercept German V-1 bombs, the fighters later provided air defense, reconnaissance, and ground attacks.  The 200 Meteors manufactured during war are credited with destroying 46 German aircraft.  The single-seat fighter was a mainstay of the RAF with approximately 4,000 produced between 1944 and 1965.  Five airworthy fighters survive today.

A turbojet engine is propelled by a stream of hot exhaust gases.  Air is drawn into the engine, compressed to increase pressure, and heated by internal combustion.  The ignited gas shoots out the back of the engine at very high speed, providing a tremendous amount thrust and allowing the aircraft to fly extremely fast.  Apply Newton’s third law of motion, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, to understand how a jet engine creates thrust.

Post by Annie Tête, STEM Education Coordinator

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