Book Review – The First Jet Pilot: The Story of German Test Pilot Erich Warsitz
World War II saw an explosion of scientific and technical knowledge as both sides fought for an edge and victory. Aviation was perhaps the greatest beneficiary of these advances according to author Lutz Warsitz, who tells the story of German test pilot Erich Warsitz in his book, The First Jet Pilot: The Story of German Test Pilot Erich Warsitz.
On August 27, 1939, Flugkapitän Erich Warsitz became the first man to fly a jet aircraft, the Heinkel He 178. Earlier that year in June, he test-flew the first liquid-fuel rocket aircraft, the Heinkel He 176. His legendary flying skills enabled him to assist the pioneering German aircraft and engine design teams that included Wernher von Braun; Hans Pabst von Ohain, who developed the jet turbine for the He 178; and Ernst Heinkel. Warsitz repeatedly risked his life extending the frontiers of aviation in speed, altitude, and technology and survived many life-threatening incidents.
The book is written based on Warsitz’s copious notes and diaries written at the time, and it vividly captures the then peaceful days of German Aviation history. He was entertained by the Reich’s senior military figures such as Goering, Udet, and Milch, who was present at many of the early flights and gave Warsitz the rank of flight captain after he saw the first short flight of the He 176. Even Hitler, whom he met, keenly followed his experimental flying. Little is known of this pioneer period because of the strict secrecy which shrouded the whole project – it’s a fascinating story that tells of the birth of the jet age and flying as we know it today. The book includes many previously unpublished photographs, illustrations, and diagrams.
Lutz Warsitz, who now lives in Switzerland, collected his father’s personal notes and diaries of his life to create the book. In doing so, he has been able to correct the false reports of the events of that time. From information gleaned from his father, he has been able to recreate the exciting events that centered on the He 176 and He 178.
The book was a quick read, filled with fascinating detail that warbird enthusiasts and pilots will certainly enjoy. The First Jet Pilot: The Story of German Test Pilot Erich Warsitz is available through Pen & Sword Books Limited.
For more information, visit: www.FirstJetPilot.com.