Air Commodore Sir Frank Whittle (1 June 1907 – 9 August 1996) was an English Royal Air Force air officer who is credited with inventing the turbojet engine.
The Gloster E.28/39, (also referred to as the Gloster Whittle, Gloster Pioneer, or Gloster G.40) was the first British jet-engined aircraft. A pair of these aircraft were produced for the flight test programme, making their maiden flight on 15 May 1941, at Brockworth, 80 years ago this year.
The development of the turbojet-powered E.28/39 was the result of collaboration between the Gloster Aircraft Company and Sir Frank Whittle’s company, Power Jets Ltd. The aim was to design a suitable aircraft to test the novel jet propulsion designs that Frank Whittle had developed during the 1930s.
The E.28/39 was a valuable prototype and the Gloster Aircraft Company’s experience with this new type of propulsion led to the development of the Gloster Meteor, the first operational jet fighter to enter service with the Allies.
We’re celebrating Frank Whittle’s legacy with a Blackfriars Talks event – Duncan Campbell-Smith, author of a major new biography, is joined by Ian Whittle, son of Sir Frank Whittle and himself a pilot, to explore the intriguing life and extraordinary story of one of Britain’s greatest pioneers, marking the 80th anniversary of the very first jet engine flight in Brockworth just outside Gloucester.