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Last Updated: Friday, 9 January, 2004, 07:02 GMT
Plaque reminder of jet engine's inventor
Sir Frank Whittle
Sir Frank Whittle did much of his early work at Cambridge
The man who revolutionised air travel by inventing the jet engine is to be honoured in Cambridge where his early work was carried out.

A Blue Plaque will be unveiled at Cambridge University next week to commemorate Sir Frank Whittle.

His son, Ian, will unveil the plaque on one of the gateposts of the University of Cambridge Engineering Department in Trumpington Street.

Sir Frank began his research into the jet engine in 1929 while in the RAF.

My father said inventing the jet engine was easy. Making it work was the difficult bit!
Ian Whittle
He was not deterred when his proposals were rejected by the Air Ministry as "quite impracticable".

He developed his work when he went up to Cambridge in 1934 as a mature student, completing a three-year Mechanical Science Tripos in just two years.

During this time he lived with his family in a house on Harston Road in Trumpington.

After completing his studies Sir Frank was assigned full-time to the development of the jet engine by the RAF and the first run of an experimental model was achieved in April 1937.

First flight

The first of his engines to take to the air was installed in the Gloster-Whittle E28/39 plane, which made its first flight in 1941.

His son Ian said: "My father said inventing the jet engine was easy. Making it work was the difficult bit."

The Cambridge Blue Plaque Committee has arranged the mounting of the plaque in conjunction with the University of Cambridge and the Sir Arthur Marshall Institute For Aeronautics, (SAMIA).

The plaque will be unveiled on 13 January at 1400 GMT.




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