First free flight of a manned, all-jet VTOL aircraft

Tuesday, August 3, 1954 - Hucknall Aerodrome, United Kingdom



The Rolls-Royce Thrust Measuring Rig (TMR), also known as the “Flying Bedstead,” conducted the first free flight of a manned, all-jet VTOL aircraft on August 3, 1954. Piloted by Capt. Ron Shepherd (Rolls-Royce chief test pilot), the TMR flight demonstrated hovering, as well as moving forward, backward and sideways.

The TMR was powered by two Rolls-Royce Nene turbojets with 4,050 lb-thrust (18 kN) each. Following successful trials of the TMR, Rolls-Royce began development of the Rolls-Royce RB.108 direct-lift turbojet, five of which were used to power the first true British VTOL aircraft, the Short SC.1.

Sources: 2015 AHS History Calendar and Wikipedia entry.


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