Aeroplane Monthly 1985-03
R.Harvey - Flying the bedstead (1)
The picture shows Capt R. T. Shepherd hovering high over Hucknall in the first Bedstead, XJ314, sometime before January 1955. It had made its first free flight, with Shepherd at the controls, on August 3, 1954, after tethered flights during the preceding 12 months.
Captain R. T. Shepherd, Rolls-Royce's chief test pilot, perched atop the Bedstead at Hucknall. The aircraft was powered by two Nene jet engines mounted back to back and with their exhaust pipes turned 90° downward.
Another view of the Bedstead in the air, its 3 1/2-ton weight supported purely by jet thrust. The rapid consumption of fuel made it 134lb lighter per minute of flight. The pyramid above the pilot was not a crash pylon - it was only for suspension of the Bedstead during tethered trials.