Chairman Colin Chapman welcomed the members and introduced two visitors:
Dave Goddard, prospective member, visiting the Club after reading our details on
Our Speaker for the day, Ian Whittle, son of the jet pioneer Sir Frank Whittle.
Wefare Officer, Tony Hill, gave a brief update on Brian Hart. Brian, having had
to return to hospital after suffering complications from his earlier bout of hospitalisation
for pneumonia, is now back home, recuperating slowly, but, for the present, having
to be on oxygen full time.
Following the lunch, Ian Whittle gave a fascinating account of his father’s pioneering
design of the jet aero engine. It was a tale of inspiration, frustration and eventual
Frank Whittle’s enthusiasm, self belief and leading a double life as an RAF Officer
and research -and-build inventor through his own research company, was something
not many realise was how Great Britain took the lead in jet propulsion. But not
the lead we might have had.
How different the history of flying, particularly of the progress of WW2 might have
been if it weren’t for the dithering and poor decision-making of the Air Ministry
of the time, and not least because of the deliberate rejection of his research by
an official with his own self-interest in mind.
The success and sheer density of air traffic we see now is as a result of Sir Frank
Whittle’s genius. It has taken Officialdom a long time to appreciate their mistakes
and to recognise and value the Whittle tenacity.
Not least, Ian himself can boast that his father’s invention has led him to have
had a successful and enjoyable life as an RAF fighter pilot and 747 Captain!
A vote of thanks was given by David Moffat, whose father had worked with Frank Whittle!
By sheer coincidence that evening’s “One Show” on BBC had a short piece on Frank
Whittle, with James Dyson, another brilliant inventor, unveiling the restored original
Whittle jet engine!