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Pioneering White Waltham aircraft celebrates 60th anniversary

The world’s first vertical take-off airliner celebrated its 60th anniversary on Tuesday.

The Fairey Rotodyne, which was manufactured in White Waltham, had it’s first flight from the airfield on November 6, 1957.

It was designed to carry 48 passengers from city centre to city centre at speeds of up to 190mph.

A special talk is being held to celebrate the aircraft at the heritage centre in Park Street.

Richard Poad, chairman of Maidenhead Heritage Centre, said: “The Rotodyne's major drawback was the noise made by the tip-jets, which older Maidonians will remember. 

“Although ordered by British European Airways and New York Airways, the Rotodyne never entered airline service and was cancelled in 1962. 

“However, it was far ahead of its time and a worthy forerunner for vertical take off aircraft of the 21st century.”

The talk will take place on Monday, November 27 and will be given by David Gibbings, who worked on the Fairey Rotodyne as a young man.

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