A museum in Coventry is paying tribute to
one of the city's finest sons this week to mark one of the great
developments in aviation history.
Coventry Airport based Midland Air Museum is dedicating a week
to Sir Frank Whittle to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the
first jet engine powered aeroplane flight.
The celebrations will include a showing of
rare colour-film footage from the 1940s of Sir Frank, who was
born in Earlsdon, testing the Gloster E28/39 powered by his jet
Barry James, chairman of the board of
trustees at the Midland Air Museum, wants this to lay to rest
the myth that the great inventor's city has forgotten him.
"Sir Frank is definitely not
forgotten. The older generation will always remember him and
now we are plugging away to make sure that school children and
even people in their 20s realise he was from Coventry.
"If they know the inventor of the
jet engine was born in England it will be a start, but once
they know he was born in Coventry and see how that ties in
with the wonderful history of engineering there is in this
area, it will be good for them and the city.
"We will be showing a very rare and
original archive film throughout the week. It is very special
because it shows Sir Frank testing a design in the early 1940s
and is in colour.
"We normally show the film in bits,
but to commemorate the anniversary of the first ever flight we
will be showing it in full.
"There will also be experts
available to talk to visitors about Sir Frank and to answer
questions on his work. An early W2700 jet engine will be on
display as well as a large model of an E28/39."
Sir Frank, who was born in the city in
1907, applied to patent his design for the jet aircraft engine
in 1930 and test ran a model in 1937.
But it was not until 15 May 1941 that the
Air Ministry-approved test flight of a Gloster E28/39, powered
by Whittle's engine, marked the beginning of the jet age.
He died in 1996 and was given Coventry's
Award of Merit. He was last year named the Man of the Millennium
in a Coventry Cathedral poll.