Dr Thomas Lean, interviewer for Made in Britain, writes:
The 1950s were a time of dramatic change in aircraft design. Aeronautical engineers experimented with the new jet and rocket engines, delta and swept wing aircraft shapes, and new concepts for flight, such as supersonic speeds and vertical take off and landing. Excited by the growing power of jet engines, aircraft designers reasoned that aircraft may no longer need conventional runways - they could simply blast themselves vertically into the sky on take off, and land on a cushion of jet thrust on return.
And yet for all the many vertical take off prototypes and projects that were started across the world in this time, only one led to a truly successful production aircraft - the Hawker P.1127, which evolved into the Harrier.
Last summer we took Made in Britain interviewee Ralph Hooper to Brooklands Museum in Surrey, home to one of the prototype P.1127s which he began the original design of in 1957. In the following video clip Ralph discusses the early days of this long lived aircraft.