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Technology

Jet set lifestyle

Acclaimed inventor on an aviation revolution


Trevor Baylis
Baylis: "I can fly to Zaragoza for the price of a couple of cocktails."
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(CNN) -- "In 1930, 21-year-old Frank Whittle filed his patents for what we now call the jet engine.

He spent considerable time and expense on the project without any help whatsoever from government.

Indeed, the chief government scientist of the day pooh-poohed Frank's ideas and put them on a back burner, partly out of envy and because of the fact that he had been working on turbine technology himself.

Frank's patents were quickly picked up by German scientists, and as history proves, Germany had the first jet planes flying in the late 1930s.

Fortunately Britain had the tried and tested Rolls-Royce reciprocating Merlin engine which could be deployed in our Spitfires and Hurricanes, flown so gallantly by our Commonwealth pilots.

Britain's jet planes weren't available until later in the war, 1943 -- too late to have any impact.

My contention is that had our aircraft been jet planes, our pilots would have had such a devastating effect on the enemy that perhaps World War II would have been world war one-and-a-half.

Britain could have swept the Nazi bombers out of the sky, and imposed crippling damages on Germany's munitions and manufacturing industries earlier in the war.

When you consider now how much we take for granted -- that cheap flight to Spain or Australia -- and if you glance into the skies and see how many flights touch down at the local airport, you can see how the jet engine has had an amazing impact on all of our lives.

I noticed today that Ryanair will fly me to Zaragoza for the price of a couple of cocktails. I salute Sir Frank Whittle as my hero."

-- Trevor Baylis invented the clockwork radio and is the founder of Trevor Baylis Brands which helps inventors bring their products to market.


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