Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering


19 Apr 2018

Former test pilot takes to the air to mark 70 years since first solo flight

Capt Desmond Penrose in front of tiger moth biplane

Ex-RAF test pilot Captain Desmond Penrose marked the 70th anniversary of his first solo flight at the weekend by getting behind the controls of a 1930s biplane.

The 87-year-old alumnus, a former student of, what is now, the Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering department (graduating in Aeronautical Engineering in 1951), took to the sky on Saturday (14 April) in a DH82a Tiger Moth at RAF Henlow in Bedfordshire for a 15-minute flight and trip down memory lane. He completed his first solo flight in 1948, on the same date and in the same make of plane, at the age of 17.

The Penrose Atrium, which houses our Hawk 200 fighter jet is the central activity hub of the department and is named after Capt Penrose for his long standing and generous support.

Last year, Capt Penrose made a generous donation to the University for the furtherance of women in engineering.

This summer, the Penrose Engineering Residential – a free two-day residential event that looks to raise Year 11 female students’ interest and knowledge of engineering subjects – will take place on campus.

Read the full article with more details and video of the flight »