A new chapter in the history of jet flight was completed at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Bedford, May 31, when - on its first public demonstration - a British silver-winged SC.1.
A new chapter in the history of jet flight was completed at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Bedford, May 31, when - on its first public demonstration - a British silver-winged SC.1. jet plane, piloted by 41-year-old test pilot, Tom Brooke-Smith, was lifted vertically from a transportable metal platform by the downward blast of four 2,100 h.p. jets.
Watched by the chairman of British European Airways, Lord Kirtleside, it hovered motionless at a height of about 40 ft. The fifth jet in its tail was then opened up and the SC.1. hurtled forward, went into a steep climb and made a wide circuit of the airfield at over 200 m.p.h.
Its return was an astonishing performance. It came in at a sheep angle, - pulled up in mid-air 40 ft. above the runway, then moved backwards - to the correct position for the vertical jets to take over. Heat from the vertical jets boiled tar on the runway as the SC.1. settled down gently on its undercarriage.
The builders of this revolutionary plane - capable of nearly 350 m.p.h. - claim that it heralds the end of runways, the coming of aircraft that can land blind with complete safety in all weathers, and of fighters that can operate from a few square yards of ground in forward areas or from the decks of small ships.