We’re pleased to announce that we will be hand crafting for your pleasure a new special beer especially for the Leicester Beer Festival, which runs from Wednesday 9th March through to Saturday 12th March, and will be held at the Charotar Patidar Samaj Hall.
The festival theme this year celebrates ’75 Years of the Jet Age’, and we’re pleased to confirm that our beer will be named ‘Sir Frank Whitt’Ale’, in honour of Air Commodore Sir Frank Whittle who is credited with single-handedly inventing the turbojet engine.
At 4.2%, this turbo powered golden amber ale will be light, fruity, and refreshing, and will be perfect to ease you into the festival and send you soaring into the night sky. We can also confirm that we’ll be using a new variety of hop which we’re excited about, and the beer will be brewed next week.
Sir Frank was born not too far away in Earlsdon, Coventry in 1907, and passed his RAF examination with a high mark in 1923. However, he only lasted two days as he failed his medical due to his small chest measurement and the fact that he was only five foot tall. He failed again 6 months later but undeterred, he applied again under an assumed name and having built up his physique finally passed his medical and started his three year training course as an aircraft mechanic.
At the age of 21 Whittle graduated from the Royal Air Force College and was commissioned as a Pilot Officer. He ranked second in his class in academics, won the Andy Fellowes Memorial Prize for Aeronautical Sciences for his thesis, and was described as an “exceptional to above average” pilot. While still a cadet he wrote a thesis contending that planes would need to fly at high altitudes, where air resistance is much lower, in order to achieve long ranges and high speeds.
During 1929 while at Central Flying School he conceived the idea of using the Gas Turbine as a means of power for producing jet thrust but the Air Ministry failed to take any action in support of the project. By 1930 he applied for a patent on the Turbo-jet engine, but in 1935 he was unable to renew his patent because of financial problems and, since the Air Ministry were not interested, his patent details were published worldwide.
In 1936 Whittle secured financial backing and, with approval from the Air Ministry, formed Power Jets Ltd. in Lutterworth and started to develop the Turbo-jet engine. He also patented the Turbo-fan and other enhancements to his original idea. Test runs were made in April 1937, at the BTH works in Rugby. This was the world’s first Turbo-jet unit and it was called the W.U. The Government immediately realised the potential of the jet engine and signed a contract for further development in 1939.
By April 1941 the new engine, now designated the W1, was ready for flight testing. By October the Americans had heard of the project and asked for the details and an engine. A Power Jets team and a W1X engine were flown to Washington to enable General Electric to examine it and begin construction. Prior to this the Rover Company in the UK had been given the secrets of the Whittle Engine by the Air Ministry in 1940, in order to prepare for mass production of the W2 Engine for the Gloster Meteor. On their failure to do so, this work was handed over by the Ministry to Rolls Royce in 1943, who successfully completed the task allotted to them. By 1944 Britain had at last a jet fighter with the Rolls Royce Welland engines designed by Frank Whittle.
Sir Frank passed away in 1996, but his achievements will never be forgotten…and we’ll drink to that.