Lincolnshire

Sir Frank Whittle's son toasts 75th anniversary of first jet flight

Replica of the Gloster E28 Image copyright Jet Age Museum
Image caption The Gloster E28/39's engine was designed by George Carter for Sir Frank Whittle's engine

The first flight of a British jet has been celebrated on its 75th anniversary by the son of Sir Frank Whittle, the man who designed its engine.

Ian Whittle said the flight of the Gloster E28 came after years of little progress.

The jet took off from RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire for a 17-minute flight on May 15, 1941.

"I felt very proud of what the British managed to do in developing the turbo jet", said Mr Whittle.

"It was something for us all to be very proud of" - especially because the inaugural flight took off at the height of World War Two.

Mr Whittle said the engine designed by his father was very successful and "pilot-friendly".

Sir Frank had had the original idea in 1929 but there had been no progress for many years.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Sir Frank Whittle was knighted by King George VI in 1948

RAF Cranwell's association with aviation had started in World War One, when it became a Royal Navy flying training base in 1918. It was later handed over to the Royal Air Force.

Sir Frank began an RAF career as an apprentice and later trained as an officer at the base.

He was knighted by King George VI in 1948 when he retired from the RAF in the rank of Air Commodore.

He emigrated to the USA in 1976 and died at his home in Columbia, Maryland in August 1996.

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