Ray Wheeler

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Raymond Leslie Wheeler RDI FRAeS FRINA (born 25 October 1927) is a British engineer who was instrumental in Britain's successful development of rocket launchers and hovercraft.

Early life[edit]

He was born in Middlesex.

From the University College, Southampton he gained a BSc in Engineering in 1948.

SR.N4 at Dover Hoverport in July 2000



He joined Saunders-Roe in 1945 as an apprentice. He worked on the SR.N1, the first hovercraft. He eventually became Chief Structural Engineer, working on the 300-tonne SR.N4 hovercraft, as Project Engineer.[1]

At Saunders-Roe he worked with Roy Dommett on the Black Arrow rocket programme, where he was the Chief Designer. Although entirely successful, built on a limited budget, the project came to an abrupt end in November 1971, having been cancelled on 29 July 1971.

British Hovercraft Corporation[edit]

From 1966-85 he was Chief Designer of the British Hovercraft Corporation, and Technical Director from 1972-85.

He became a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society in 1974. In 1995 he became an RDI.

Personal life[edit]

He married in Southampton in 1950 and has one son (born 1956) and two daughters (born 1952 and 1954). He was a keen field hockey player for the company teams.


External links[edit]

Video clips[edit]