The Me262 was the world’s first operational jet engine plane. Designed and built in Nazi Germany and introduced in late 1944, it was the fastest plane in the skies reaching a top speed of 568mph, 120mph faster than any other operational plane. The Me262 would prove to be important for the future of aviation, but not for Nazi Germany.
With the war all but over Adolf Hitler committed suicide on the 30 April 1945 and within a week Nazi Germany surrendered, the race for the Nazi secret science was on. Allied agents rushed to the locations of the factories that built the Nazi war machines. Captain Eric Brown flew a Me262 back to England. The legendary British pilot said that the difference in speed “was a huge, a quantum leap”.
The Soviets and the Americans acquired Me262’s and began studying the technology and along with the knowledge they already had, designed the MiG-15 and the F-86 Sabre. In December 1950 the start of the Korea war took place, America sided with the South Korea and the Soviet Union sided with North Korea, both American and Soviet pilots were in for a surprise. When the two planes met for the first time, pilots were confused, both planes look so similar.
The Me262 was instrumental and paved the way for future designs of jet engines.
Source – National Geographic, The Hunt For Hitler’s Scientists