Whereas the engines in propeller-powered aircraft generally achieve their maximum efficiency at much lower speeds and altitudes, jet engines and aircraft achieve maximum efficiency at speeds close to or even well above the speed of sound. Jet aircraft generally cruise at faster than about M 0.8 and around 10,000–15,000 metres (33,000–49,000 ft) or more.
Frank Whittle, an English inventor and RAF officer, developed the concept of the jet engine in 1928, Hans von Ohain in Germany, a decade later developed the concept independently at the end of the 1930s. He wrote in February 1936 to Ernst Heinkel, telling him of the design and its possibilities. However, it can be argued that the English engineer A. A. Griffith, who published a paper in July 1926 on compressors and turbines, also deserves credit.