TGermany and Great Britain
both had jet fighters in prototypes before the Americans even became
involved in jet technology. Hap Arnold approached General Electric to
build an engine based on the design from Frank Whittle in the UK. He
then worked with Bell aircraft to build an airframe for the new engine.
The new aircraft and engine combination was delivered to Muroc Army Air
Field (now Edwards AFB) on September 12, 1942. To maintain secrecy of
the project, a dummy propeller was fixed to the front of the airplane
while it was being towed around the field so as not to attract any
undue attention. Testing proved that the engines were unreliable and
performance was well below expectations. But the P-59 helped to pave
the way for later, more successful jets like the P-80. From an original
order of 80, only 30 aircraft were delivered before the contract was
cancelled. This one now belongs to the Planes of Fame museum in Chino.
NOTE: These image are NOT public domain, there are all
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