Many people believe that the Germans were the first to develop and fly a jet. It was during the Second World War that the Germans built jet aircraft that could fly faster than anything in the arsenal of the Allies.
Air Commodore Sir Frank Whittle, OM, KBE, CB, FRS, Hon FRAeS (June 1, 1907-August 9, 1996) was an English Royal Air Force (RAF) officer. Whittle shared credit with Germany's Dr. Hans von Ohain for independently inventing the jet engine in the 1930s. He is hailed as a father of jet propulsion. Wikipedia
Dr. Hans Joachim Pabst von Ohain of Germany (Dec. 14, 1911-March 13, 1998) was one of the inventors of jet propulsion. He developed the concept independently during the late 1930s. He designed the first self-contained jet engine to run, and he was the first to power an all-jet aircraft. Wikipedia
History can be confusing, especially aviation history. The two engineers, one British and the other German, independently developed the concept of jet propulsion.
To add to the confusion:
Alan Arnold Griffith (June 13, 1893-Oct. 13, 1963) was an English engineer, who, among many other contributions, is best known for his work on stress and fracture in metals that is now known as metal fatigue, as well for being one of the first to develop a strong theoretical basis for the jet engine. Wikipedia
But wait! If you think that's confusing enough an article in the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) Journal No. 6, 2008 seems to muddy the waters even more:
Henri Marie Coanda (June 7, 1886-Nov. 25, 1972) built the first jet engine in 1910 and consequently flew the first jet-powered aircraft, only a short time after man started to explore the skies in powered flight. This was long before the Germans further developed the jet engine and started using it on airplanes by the end of WW II. ICAO Journal.
Coanda, a Romanian, went to Paris in 1909, where he studied at the École Nationale Superieure d'Ingenieurs en Construction AÉronautique and graduated at the head of his class of aeronautical engineers. In 1910, he built the world's first jet powered aircraft, the Coanda-1910. It was exhibited by him at the Second International Aeronautical Exhibition in Paris around October 1910. Two months later, he did a ground test, at least it was supposed to be a ground test but while speeding along the turf the thing got airborne. Coanda lost control and his machine crashed and burned. Coanda escaped with minor injuries.
The famous French engineer Gustave Eiffel (the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty) became a friend and supported him with his experiments with aerodynamic behavior. Public support was lacking but more significant was the lack of interest on the part of the scientific and engineering community, and Coanda abandoned his experiments.
It was off to British Isles then with the hope that the English would show an appreciation for his aviation fervor. Coanda was hired as technical director by the Bristol Aeroplane Company, and, between 1911 and 1914, designed several aeroplanes known as Bristol-Coanda aeroplanes. In 1912, one of these planes won the first prize at the International Military Aviation Contest in the UK.
After a few years in the United Kingdom, he returned to France where he continued to design aircraft and was awarded the Medal of French Aeronautics, Order of Merit. Other awards he received include the Harry Diamond Laboratories Award (To honor individuals for distinguished technical contributions in the field of electrotechnology while in U.S. government service) at the International Automation Symposium in New York, and the UNESCO Award for Scientific Research
Coanda is also given credit for developing a device to detect underground liquids, such as oil, and for designing a system for offshore oil drilling.
In 1969, he returned to spend his last days in his native Romania, where he served as director of the Institute for Scientific and Technical Creation.
Henri Coanda International Airport, serving Bucharest, honours his name.
Coanda died in Bucharest November 25, 1972 at the age of 86.