The jet age
Frank Whittle overcame considerable odds to become an RAF pilot – but his lasting aviation legacy is the invention of the turbojet. Theoretical jet engine designs had been proposed in the early 1920s. Whittle, who trained as an aircraft apprentice, pushed his turbojet idea throughout the 1930s and eventually formed a private company to build a prototype. In 1937 his experimental engine first ran. His 1996 obituary in the Daily Telegraph described Air Commodore Sir Frank Whittle as ‘the greatest aero-engineer of the century.’
Jet engines first flew during WWII – but their primary impact came in the post-war civil aviation boom. 70 years on, that boom continues, with airports now struggling to cope with the volume of traffic. McLaren Applied Technologies has worked at Heathrow – Europe’s busiest airport – to apply its Decision Insight platform, originally developed for F1, to create a system which enables controllers to optimise the flow of air and ground traffic. From planning the fastest journey to the right gate to transporting passengers as quickly as possible, the platform provides Heathrow with the potential to increase efficiency, reduce delays and increase energy efficiency: all improving the customer experience.