Gloster-Whittle E28/39 Sculpture
The first prototype Gloster E28/39, W4041G still exists and is exhibited in the Science Museum, South Kensington. This is probably the world’s oldest jet propelled aeroplane. The second prototype E28/39 W4046G was destroyed on 30 July 1943, when the controls jammed in a starboard turn at an altitude of 37,000 feet. The pilot, Douglas Davie, made a remarkable escape after being thrown through the canopy with aircraft inverted. His oxygen mask was torn away in the process. Davie made a free fall of about 20,000 feet, before making a normal parachute descent. The pilot and aircraft both came to earth about three miles from Guilford. Although injured Davie survived this particular ordeal, only to be subsequently killed in January 1944, when flying the third prototype Gloster F9/40 Meteor, DG204G. It was after this particular crash that the Air Ministry started to seriously consider the use of ejection seats for jet aircraft. The “G” suffix attached to all these aircraft serial numbers meant that they had to guarded at all times whilst on the ground. John Willock, WIAS
The following is a fascinating piece about the Gloster E28/39 sculpture, no doubt seen by many, as they travel around the traffic island on the southern outskirts of Lutterworth, Leicestershire. Thanks to Paul Waller.