Former aircraft engineer, 90, granted wish to be reunited with Harrier jet

·1-min read
(Care UK/PA)
(Care UK/PA)

A 90-year-old former engineer received a blast from the past as he was reunited with planes he used to work on more than 40 years ago.

Roy Whitehead had a 42-year career working on Harrier aircraft after joining manufacturer Hawker as a junior technical assistant at the age of 16 in 1947.

Now living at Care UK’s Milner House care home in Leatherhead he was treated by staff to a day out at Brooklands Museum in nearby Weybridge which displays some of the planes he once worked on.

(Care UK)
(Care UK)

His son Jon said: “We all had an amazing time at Brooklands Museum, seeing the Hunter, Harrier and Hawk planes that dad had worked on throughout his career.”

Mr Whitehead was eventually appointed chief experimental instrumentation engineer, and went on to write two books about his time working on Harriers.

After learning about his career, Georgie Wilkins, customer relations manager at Milner House, organised the trip with the help of volunteers from the museum.

Mr Whitehead had been keen to be reunited with the planes he used to work on.

(Care UK)
(Care UK)

Sam Hart, director of marketing at Brooklands, said: “It was a pleasure to invite Roy and his sons to the museum to see the Harrier jets and we were delighted to help Roy in achieving his dream to be reunited with the aircraft he worked on 40 years ago.

“His face lit up the room when he saw the planes close-up and our volunteers were astounded by the knowledge he had of the jets.”

The museum displays two Harrier jets, which were the first successful vertical/short take-off and landing fighters and became known colloquially as Harrier Jump Jets.

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