Sir Frank Whittle(1907-1996), Aeronautical engineer and inventor
Sitter in 15 portraits
Whittle was an aeronautical engineer and inventor of the jet engine. As an officer in the Royal Air Force, Whittle formulated a prototype turbo-jet engine, which he patented in 1932. With approval from the Air Ministry, he founded the company Power Jet Ltd. to develop the idea. Difficulty obtaining financial backing for the scheme and official scepticism delayed the project, and the first trial flight was made in May 1941. Whittle's invention transformed aviation and made innovative aircraft, such as Concorde, possible.
Watch a film clip on the sitter from the BBC Archive in the Media section below