The Remarkable Story of Belfast's Plane Makers
Guest speaker Guy Warner gave Monday 07 October a very well received account of aircraft and aerospace manufacturing in NI over 100 years noting that although Shorts is generally considered to be the main plane makers there have been many others such as: Arthur Blake who in 1909 built/designed an early monoplane, Harry Ferguson (later of tractor fame)who in the same year was the 1st to fly an aircraft designed and built to his own specification, at Hillsborough, County Down, later that year Joseph Cordner from Lurgan who moved to Londonderry and built a mono plane and did short hops and the following year Lilian Bland was the 1st woman in the world to build and fly their own aeroplane. He noted the pioneering research and the many aircraft designed and manufactured by Harland & Wolffe/Shorts over the years from 1917 and since the Bombardier takeover in the late 80’s the worldwide reputation for manufacturing wings. Guy Warner concluded his well-received address by noting that Short Brothers over the decades through their apprenticeship system trained many skilled tradesmen which fed NI industry. He also noted that the ejector seat was invented in 1945 by Sir James Martin from Crossgar.