Dear Aviation & History Enthusiasts,
My father – Flight Captain Erich Warsitz – is remembered as the first person to fly an aircraft under turbojet power, the Heinkel He 178, on August 27, 1939 and also the first to fly an aircraft under liquid-fueled rocket power, the Heinkel He 176, on June 20 the same year, setting two milestones in aviation history.
Late in 1936 he was seconded by the RLM (Reich Air Ministry) to Wernher von Braun and Ernst Heinkel, because he had been recognized as one of the most experienced test-pilots of the time, and because he also had an extraordinary fund of technical knowledge. Little is known of this pioneer period because of the strict secrecy which shrouded the whole project!
You will find a lot of information about Erich Warsitz and his achievements under http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erich_Warsitz . There is also a video of the He 178 with audio commentary by my father, inclusive written translation in English, under http://www.youtube.com/user/TheFirstJetPilot#p/u/3/nneZgRkpskU .
It’s a little unfortunate that the He 178 quite often doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. After all, every other turbine propelled aircraft that has graced or is now gracing our skies has, at best, come second place to it.