inventor of the jet engine was the clear winner of the BBC's Local
Heroes poll and was the subject of a special documentary on BBC
programme told the story of the first jet flight at Brockworth,
Gloucester in April 1941 when test pilot Gerry Sayer lifted the
E28/39 aircraft off the runway.
event changed the world for ever but until now has not been officially
recognised as the first flight because the engine used wasn't a
flight engine but "a beaten up old thing that wasn't air worthy".
Whittle programme revealed that despite claims that RAF Cranwell
was the location of the groundbreaking event, Sir Frank himself
considered the Brockworth test to be the first flight of an aircraft
powered by his jet engine.
mark the television broadcast, 200 people attended a celebrity screening
at the University of Gloucestershire at Oxstalls.
presenters Mark Cummings (left) and Vernon Harwood (right)
with Ian Whittle (centre)
was hosted by Mark Cummings and Vernon Harwood from BBC Radio Gloucestershire.
Among the audience were several people who'd worked on jet production
at the Gloster Aircraft Company and others with connections to the
aviation industry in the county.
was an overwhelmingly positive reaction to the documentary with
many people expressing their delight that it finally put the record
straight about Gloucester's place in jet history.
Guest of Honour was Ian Whittle, the son of Sir Frank Whittle. He
flew from the South coast especially for the event and was delighted
by the response. Ian said:
This is where it all started as far as jet flight is concerned in
this country. The people here have every right to feel proud and
I, myself, feel proud of my father. I was amazed that in the West
Country people remembered him. I thought you'd all forgotten about
him here. So I'm very pleased and very honoured on behalf of my
Chairman of the Jet Age Museum, John Lewer said:
It was absolutely marvellous. A lady sitting behind me said it wasn't
about boring old aeroplanes, there was something for everyone. It
was amusing. Sir Frank was amusing and one can see how his son Ian
has got his sense of humour. Undoubtedly the fact that Sir Frank
came here with his engine really put Gloucester on the map. At the
Jet Age Museum we intend to commemorate that in a very positive
way. We're about to take delivery of a replica of the Gloster E28/39
which will form the focal point of the displays in the museum.
monument to Sir Frank Whittle
now hoped that a major and permanent monument to Sir Frank Whittle
will become a reality in Gloucestershire.
from the Jet Age Museum continue to raise funds and awareness for
a visitor attraction devoted to the county's aviation heritage.
They're hoping that another bid for funding from the National Lottery
Heritage Fund will prove successful.
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