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October 1 – First US Jet Makes Maiden Flight

October 1, 1942

On October 1, 1942, the first US jet, the Bell P-59 Airacomet fighter, made its maiden flight. Ordered on September 4, 1941, this project was conducted under such great secrecy, with General Electric producing the engine and Bell building the airplane itself. The first jet was completed mid-1942 and made its first flight that October at what is now known as Edwards Air Force Base, California. The plane was ordered into production one year later, with I-14 and I-16 engines to improve upon the original model, and Bell produced a total of 66 P-59s. The jets never made it to combat, but they provided invaluable data for development of future jet airplanes and training for Army Air Force pilots. Today, the P-59 is a piece of history we can all look back on.