Helmut Schelp - Biography

Biography

Schelp received a MSc in engineering at Stevens University in Hoboken, NJ, before returning to Germany in 1936. On his return to Germany he was invited to join a new advanced course in aeronautical engineering being offered by the DVL research institute in Berlin. Following in Frank Whittle's footsteps of a few years earlier, Schelp became interested in the problems of high-speed flight, and attempted to calculate the maximum speed an aircraft could obtain. He eventually came to the conclusion that flights over Mach 0.82 were impossible due to the decreasing efficiency of propellers, which one of his professors at DVL demonstrated would be only 71% at Mach 0.82, and falling rapidly. For higher speeds a much larger engine would be needed, one whose weight would offset the amount of thrust that could be generated by the propeller. He was aware of developments in jet engines, and became convinced they were the only way forward.

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