George Carter (engineer)

George Carter (engineer)

Infobox Person
name =George Carter

image_size =200px
caption =George Carter c. 1945
birth_date =
birth_place =
death_date =
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occupation =Engineer
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Wilfred George Carter was the chief designer at Glosters from 1937, was awarded the C.B.E. in 1947 and was appointed Technical Director of Gloster Aircraft in 1948 remaining on the board of directors until 1954. He continued to serve Glosters for a number of years after his retirement in a consultancy role until 1958.

Early years

Carter joined the Gloucestershire (later Gloster) Aircraft Company in 1925 previously having worked for Sopwith, Shorts and for Hawker where he was responsible for the Heron and Hornbill fighter aircraft. At Gloster Aircraft, he was instrumental in the design of two of the most significant biplane fighters for the RAF, the Gauntlet and Gladiator. Carter also designed the Gloster F.9/37 a promising twin-engine fighter design that never entered production, before he turned to work on jet aircraft.

Jet aircraft

It was during a visit by Frank Whittle to Gloster that Carter became involved in the development of jet aircraft. At the time Gloster were working on a twin-boom fighter to be powered by a Napier Sabre piston engine which attracted the attention of Whittle who thought that the layout would be suitable for his new engine. Although the design Whittle saw would not progress beyond the project stage, within a few weeks, Carter was asked by the Air Ministry to submit plans for a brand new aircraft to use Whittle's engine. He agreed to the project before seeing the engine for himself. While not impressed with the engine itself, when he saw it running he was convinced that it could develop into a suitable powerplant given what they had managed to achieve in the somewhat primitive conditions at Lutterworth.

The Gloster E.28/39 was designed primarily to prove the concept of turbojet powered flight, the Air Ministry however insisted that the design include provision for four guns and 2,000 rounds of ammunition even if these were not fitted in the prototype. The contract to build the E.28/39 also known as the Pioneer was placed with Glosters on the 3 February 1940. The aircraft was built in secret at the Regents garage, Cheltenham and first flew on 8 April 1941 at Hucclecote, becoming the first British and Allied jet aircraft.

Even before the Pioneer flew, the Air Ministry encouraged Carter to design a practical jet fighter since the Pioneer was not suitable because it was unlikely that an engine of at least convert|2000|lbf|kN|abbr=on thrust would be available in the near future. Carter therefore decided that the design would require two engines. The result was designated the F.9/40 which first flew on 5 March 1943 and would find worldwide fame as the Gloster Meteor. His later designs included the E.1/44 and Gloster Javelin.


Along with other pioneering aircraft designers, George Carter was honoured in 1997 with the issuance of a special postage stamp in a series called "The Architects of the Air." Other partnerships featured on the stamps were R. J. Mitchell and Supermarine's celebrated Spitfire on the 20p stamp, R.E. Bishop and the de Havilland company's Mosquito on a 37p stamp and Sydney Camm, designer of the Hawker Hunter fighter, featured on the 63p value.

Chairman of Royal Mail's Stamp Advisory Committee, Adam Novak said: "Each one of the aircraft featured on the stamps was unique and revolutionary in its own way. The Architects of the Air were the trail blazers for today's modern aircraft designs [ [ Stamp Designs Pay Tribute To Revolutionary British Aircraft ] ] ." George Carter's face dramatically forms the clouds overlooking a flight of a Meteor Mk T7 on the 1997 43p stamp.


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