Friday, 30 December 2011

Sir Robert L.Lickley CBE 1912–1998

Sir Robert Lang Lickley CBE FRSE FEng FRAeS FIEE

Robert Lickley was an aeronautical engineer of very high repute in both the British and American industries. Born in Dundee on 19 January 1912, he attended Dundee High School, graduating from Edinburgh University before proceeding to Imperial College London whence in 1933 he joined the Hawker Aircraft design office at Kingston-on –Thames. He was thus one of the early migrants from Scotland – and Wales – to the growing aircraft industry mainly based in southern England, which offered technical and intellectual opportunities to bright young engineering graduates.
Under Sydney Camm, Lickley made his mark with Roy Chaplin in the mid-Thirties by creating the project design of a single-seat eight-gun monoplane fighter. This project was conceived by the Hawker team as their reaction to the outcome of the Air Ministry specification F5/34 which Sydney Camm dismissed as “just not good enough”. The Hawker team incorporated the new Rolls-Royce PV12 engine, a retracting undercarriage and a fabric covered monoplane wing with
eight Browning 0.303 machine guns buried therein. This formidable concept eventually emerged as the ‘Hurricane’, which proved a huge advance on its predecessors, very robust, and a good steady gun platform.
The Air Ministry was so impressed by the prototype’s performance that a production order was placed in 1936 for no fewer than 600 of the type. This enabled the RAF to have quite a number of squadrons in service by the critical earlysummer of 1940. During the Battle of Britain which followed, Fighter Command used its Hurricanes to great effect, when they shot down more enemy aircraft than all other aircraft and ground forces combined. During the Second World War Lickley was deeply involved as chief project engineer in the development of the Hurricane,
Typhoon, Tempest and Fury. He thus saw through the final stages of evolution of the piston-engined fighter to its pinnacle of performance with a top speed of around 450mph, then ushered in the jet fighter age of 500mph for Hawkers with the P1040, which ultimately emerged as the Royal Navy’s shipborne Sea Hawk.
After the war he was appointed Professor of Aircraft Design at the new College of Aeronautics at Cranfield, in Bedfordshire. In this appointment he brought on many able young engineers who later made their mark throughout the industry. These were fortunate people, as their professor had up-to-date and wide experience of aircraft design, development, and production and was thus able to impart to them all the lessons he had learned in his previous years with Hawker.
However, an opportunity beckoned in 1951 to return to industry as Chief Engineer and Technical Director of Fairey Aviation. There he showed great skill in building up a team of mostly young engineers comprising mathematicians, aerodynamicists, structural, and aero-elasticity specialists, together with development engineers and test pilots. Thus equipped, Fairey’s was able to cope with a wide range of aircraft projects including the Gannet anti-submarine aircraft for the Fleet, with a later, vital variant, the Airborne Early Warning (AEW) version. These were the ‘bread and butter’ production aircraft for Fairey at this time. New projects included the Fairey Delta 2, a supersonic delta-wing experimental aircraft which in March 1956 smashed the world’s air-speed record by the huge margin of 300mph, reaching 1,132mph over a measured course off the Sussex Coast. The engineering team of designers,
draughtsmen, and specialists was housed in a new, but modest, building at the Hayes, Middlesex headquarters of Fairey Aviation. It was remarkable that the planning and preparations for the world air speed attempt by the FD2, to be piloted by Peter Twiss, was confined to those few directly involved and was unsuspected by those others who worked in the same small building. It was a tribute to Bob Lickley’s ability to impress upon his staff, and to sustain this pressure, of the need for secrecy, mainly to ‘catch out’ the Americans, then holders of the record. A good example of ‘Chinese Walls’ of which we hear so much nowadays, albeit in a City context.
Being developed at the same time was the Fairey Rotodyne, a large, fast rotary-wing aircraft of 33,000lb design weight capable of vertical take-off and landing and aimed at the short-haul intercity market. The sole prototype flew several hundred hours, setting a world-speed record of 307kph over the 100km closed circuit in January 1959, a record that stood for many, many years. However, the Rotodyne was cancelled in 1962 on the grounds of budgetary shortage and
external noise.
In addition, Fairey developed as a private venture a very small tip-jet propelled helicopter, the Ultra-Light, for a communication and observation role in the Royal Navy, operable from small ships. However it was not adopted, the Ministry of Supply sticking by the larger, heavier, Saunders-Roe Wasp, then at the prototype stage. These Fairey projects, Gannet, FD2, Rotodyne and Ultra-Light were all handled simultaneously by the engineering team at Hayes, where Lickley was by then managing director. The total strength of the engineering team at the time, including experimental shop, test personnel, typists and administrators, was not more than 1,000 people, an amazingly small number compared with those involved in the European Collaborative ventures which followed.

Lickley and Fairey’s suffered a severe disappointment when their new RAF fighter project was still-born by the ill-advised policy of Duncan Sandys as Minister for Defence, then Aviation, who opined that “the day of the manned fighter is over” and that guided missiles would reign instead. Fairey had won the competition with a design based on the successful FD2, so the cancellation very adversely affected the company’s fortunes and also those of the British aircraft industry. In
contrast the French government and industry seized the opportunity by initiating a design based on the FD2 concept that blossomed into the Dassault Mirage, many hundreds of which have been built and sold world-wide. After Westland purchased the UK interests of Fairey Aviation (and Bristol Helicopters and Saunders Roe) in 1960, Lickley decided his future lay elsewhere. He returned to Hawker Siddeley as a director, where he was much concerned with their VTOL (vertical take-off or landing) ideas, which came to fruition in due course as the Harrier.
The Rolls-Royce collapse in 1971 led to Lickley being involved, through the National Enterprise Board, as leader of the board’s Rolls-Royce Support Staff, where he worked hard to restore that company’s aero-engine business to its present successful strong international position.
Bob Lickley was essentially a very private person who never talked of any special hobbies; for recreation, he enjoyed golf, at which he was good enough to be an effective industry representative for several years in the annual golf match between the Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC) and the RAF. In the office he was pretty demanding of his
subordinates and perceived shortcomings drew acerbic remarks, which some found rather frightening. However the best response was a robust and well-argued case which Lickley respected. In debate he was a forceful, logical arguer but one able to accept other points of view without rancour. He was an active member of various committees of the Aeronautical Research Council (ARC) between 1946 and 1958, and was a committee member and later a member of council of the SBAC. In addition he was President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1971 and of the Institution of Production Engineers in 1981 and 1982. He was also an
honorary Fellow of the IMechE, a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, the Institution of Electrical Engineers, the Royal Academy of Engineering and of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, of which he was elected a Fellow in 1977. The Royal Aeronautical Society awarded him its British Gold Medal in 1957 and its Taylor Gold Medal in 1958. The Universities of Edinburgh and Strathclyde each recognised his contribution to aviation by an Honorary Doctorate of
Science in 1973 and 1987 respectively. Robert Lickley died on 7 July 1998.

Credit George S.Hislop for biography

Monday, 26 December 2011

John Lloyd 1888-1978

John Lloyd was born near Swansea in 1888. He was educated at Cavour Street Schools and at Hanley High School, he left school at sixteen. He became an apprentice at Shelton Bar and attended evening classes at the Technical School in London Road, Stoke.
Fascinated by the Wright brothers attempts to build a petrol engine powered glider, John designed and made model flying machines in his spare time.
Before the First World War (1914-18) aeroplanes had wooden frames covered with canvas. Having studied aerodynamics, John believed that an all-metal aircraft could be built. When war broke out, he was employed by the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough to design composite wood, metal and canvas fighter aircraft.
After the war Coventry based aeroplane manufacturer Armstrong Whitworth made John its chief designer and he designed the Armstrong Whitworth Siskin fighter-bomber. In 1923 a specially built two seater Siskin ll won the King’s Cup Air Race reaching a speed of 149 miles per hour. Shortly afterwards, he modified the aircraft’s design and created the Siskin lll, the Royal Air Force’s first all metal frame biplane.
Civil aviation developed rapidly after the First World War and in March 1924, the government founded Imperial Airways to carry passengers and mail throughout the British Empire.
An airmail service between England and India opened in 1929 and Imperial Airways asked Armstrong Whitworth to build a four-engine monoplane capable of carrying passengers and mail.
John designed the Atalanta, a commercial transport aircraft that had a range of 540 miles and could carry seventeen passengers. The Atalanta made its maiden flight on June 6th 1932. Imperial Airways bought eight Atalantas and the aircraft went into service on September 26th.
The company assigned four Atalantas to its airbase at Germinston in South Africa. The other four were sent to India where they flew from Karachi to Calcutta, Rangoon and Singapore.
As early as 1933, the government realised that Germany was preparing for war and decided to modernise the Royal Air Force. It asked the aircraft industry to build fast heavily armed monoplane fighters and long-range bombers to replace the Royal Air Force’s old-fashioned biplanes. John designed the Whitley, a long-range heavy bomber. Powered by two Rolls Royce Merlin engines, the Whitley’s maximum speed was 230 miles per hour. It had a range of 2,400 miles and could carry bombs weighing up to 7,000lbs.
A front line aircraft from 1939 to 1942, the Whitley played a major role in the Royal Air Force’s bombing offensive. During the Battle of Britain, it attacked Berlin and bombed aircraft factories, munitions works and railway marshalling yards in Italy. The Whitley’s last operational flight against Germany was on May 30th 1942 when it took part in the first 1,000 bomber raid. The target was Cologne and for nearly ninety minutes over 3,000 tons of bombs rained down on the city.
Between 1942 and 1949, John was at the cutting edge of aviation research working on the flying wing, an experimental tailless jet aircraft. Hoping these experiments would enable him to design an airliner, he constructed a two seater tailless glider which flew successfully. Impressed by the glider’s performance the government allowed him to build two jet powered flying wings, the AW52. One crashed and the other was taken to the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough where it was used in tests which helped to develop the V Bomber force and Concorde. He also designed the A.W. Apollo.
During the 1950s, John developed the Sea Slug missile for the Royal Navy which was undoubtedly the finest and most effective ship to air guided missile in the world. In all, John Lloyd designed and was involved in the development of over 30 types of aircraft.

Tadeusz Leopold Joseph Ciastuła OBE 1909-1979

Tadeusz Ciastuła was born in Kazimierz Dolny in Poland. He graduated from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at Warsaw Technical University with a degree in mechanical engineering, specialising in aviation. During this period, he was a success at gliding. Between 1936-39, he worked at ITL in Warsaw as a test pilot. When war broke out, he was evacuated to Romania and then to France, where he served at the Observer and Gunnery School in Bordeaux. After the fall of France, he evacuated to the UK, where in 1941 he was appointed to the Department of Applied Aerodynamics at the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough.

He also flew in 302 Fighter Squadron of the Polish Air Force and 65 Fighter Squadron of the RAF. At the end of 1944, he was sent to the U.S. to learn about transport aircraft for paratroops and how to use them. In the spring of 1947, he joined the design office of the Cierva Aircraft Company in Southampton. There he designed a light helicopter, the Cierva W.14 Skeeter. Following the acquisition of Cierva in 1951 by Saunders-Roe (Saro),he designed the Saunders-Roe P.531 helicopter. Saro was acquired in 1959 by the Westland factory in Yeovil, Somerset. Whilst atWestland he was involved in the design of the Scout and Wasp helicopters. Ciastuła was the driving force for the G.13 design which was produced as the Lynx military helicopter. In addition, he participated in the modification of the Sikorsky S-58 - the Wessex, the Sikorsky S-61 - Sea King, and he adapted the Puma helicopter, which was produced under license from the French, to British requirements.

In 1965 he was awarded the Royal Aero Club's Richard Fairey/ Louis Breguet Memorial Trophy for his work with VTO aircraft. He was awarded the OBE in 1970.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Henry Romaine Watson BSc AFRAeS 1900-1995

Henry Romaine Watson was born in Birmingham on 11 October 1900 and became interested in aeronautical matters at a very early age. Between 1918 and 1920 Watson was able to spend time at the Birmingham Technical College helping to repair aero-engines. Watson entered Birmingham University in 1920 and graduated with a BSc in mechanical engineering in 1924. Watson was able to join Armstrong Whitworth straight from university, holding a post in the stress calculation office. Watson progressed through the ranks at Armstrong Whitworth becoming Chief Stressman and then Chief Technician in 1939.When Armstrong Whitworth’s Chief Designer (Aircraft), John Lloyd, was promoted in 1948, Watson was chosen to succeed him with effect from 1 October of that year. The first project that Watson worked on as Chief Designer was the first iteration of night-fighter Meteor, the NF.11. Although the NF.11 resembled the T.7 training version of the Meteor, the extension to the nose to house the airborne interception radar, fitting of new engines and modifications to cope with changed aerodynamics and weight-distribution required much work and calculation. The amount of work involved is indicated by the fact that it was Armstrong-Whitworth’s Chief Designer who was entrusted with the work. After completing work on the Meteor night-fighter Watson was involved with the design and development of Armstrong-Whitworth’s transonic and supersonic aircraft projects. As part of this research Watson, still holding the post of Chief Designer (Aircraft), took part in Armstrong-Whitworth’s rocket engine testing programme, carried out at the Woomera weapons range, Australia, in early 1955. He also undertook a tour of the United States to keep abreast of rocket engine developments occurring there. Soon after his return to the UK, Watson was promoted onto the Armstrong-Whitworth board as Technical Director.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Godfrey Lee 1913-1998

Godfrey Lee was born in August 1913 at Lee-on-Solent, Hampshire. After spending his school years in Essex he went on to study physics and aeronautics at the Royal College of Science in 1931, graduating with a BSc in 1933. Lee subsequently undertook a period of postgraduate studies at Imperial College.
Godfrey Lee’s professional life started with a post in the Instruments Section of the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough before quickly moving to the Saunders Roe aircraft Company on the Isle of White. Lee’s long association with Handley Page began in 1937 as a stressman. With the outbreak of the Second World War he was put in charge of the research section due to the interment of the department’s head, Dr Gustav Lachmann, on the Isle of Man. During this period the main project on which Lee worked was the Handley Page H.P.75 Tailless Research Aircraft, nicknamed the Manx, undoubtedly due to the loss felt at Dr Lachmann’s enforced departure.
Involvement with the Manx project led to Godfrey Lee sitting on the Swept Wings Advisory Committee of the Aeronautical Research Council (ARC). With end of the war the ARC invited Lee to go to Germany to investigate German research into this area. A period of enforced period of sick leave followed this and Lee occupied himself with a proposal for a jet engined bomber with swept wings capable of carrying a 10,000lb bomb 5000 miles.
At a similar point Sir Fredrick Handley Page had learnt of English Electric’s projected new bomber, the Canberra, and invited his staff to submit proposals for a replacement for the RAF’s Avro Lincolns. The RAF too was going through a similar process realising a new bomber would be required. With Godfrey Lee’s design study at the centre of Handley page submission the stage was set for the creation of the H.P.80. Promotion followed in 1949 as Chief Aerodynamicist and Assistant Chief Designer in 1952, only to be promoted again a year later as Deputy Chief Designer a year later. During the whole of this period it was the Victor, as the H.P.80 was now christened that was to occupy a large proportion of Godfrey Lee’s time. With the successful introduction of the Victor Lee moved on to other projects including the H.P.115 delta research aircraft and the Jetsteam regional airliner before the company’s collapse. After this a number of years were spent working with British Airways, Airship Industries and lecturing in universities.
While Godfrey Lee never claimed to be the man behind the Victor, was never in charge of the overall project and always himself credited it as a team effort, his peers have always and still maintain that without Godfrey Lee there wouldn’t have been a Handley Page Victor.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Gustav Victor Lachmann 1896 - 1966

Gustav Victor Lachmann was a German aeronautical engineer who spent most of his professional life working for the Handley Page.
Lachmann was born in Dresden in 1896. He served as a lieutenant in the German Army during WW1, and was trained as a pilot. He was severely injured in the crash of his plane in 1917. In 1918, he invented leading edge slats (Lachmann Flaps) to improve the resistance to spinning and reduce the stalling speed of an aircraft. The invention was initially rejected by the German Patent Office but eventually granted in 1922.
After the war he studied engineering. After periods of work in Germany and Japan, in 1929 he took a job with the Handley Page company in the UK, becoming director of scientific research there. He was regarded with suspicion as a possible spy, and on the outbreak of WW2 he was interned on the Isle of Man as an enemy alien, but after pressure from his employers was eventually permitted by the authorities to continue his work at Handley-Page.
He stayed with Handley-Page for the remainder of his career. He died in in 1966.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Harrison Storms 1916-1992

Harrison Storms designs and leadership played a key role in developing B-25 bombers and P-51 Mustang fighters in World War II and in Project Apollo's billion-dollar race for the moon in the 1960's.
He joined North American Aviation in 1941, just after he received a graduate degree in aeronautical engineering from the California Institute of Technology. He continued with the company when it became Rockwell International. When he retired almost 30 years later, he had worked on a total of 48 aircraft and space vehicles.
These included the F-86 fighter of the Korean War and the F-100 Super Sabre. He also had a hand in designing the X-15 rocket plane, a space research craft.
Mr. Storms's contributions to American aerospace programs were honored with the International von Karman Wings Award for Lifetime Achievement, given by the Aerospace Historical Committee of the California Museum of Science and Industry. His earlier citations included the Air Force Meritorious Civilian Service Award.

Stanley Hiller 1924-2006

Stanley Hiller was a true aviation pioneer in rotary wing flight, and was recognized as a "boy genius" when during his high school days in the late '30's he developed a miniature racing car manufacturing business. During WWII, his firm became a major producer of die castings for the aircraft industry. In 1942, at the age of 18, Hiller left Hiller Industries to devote his entire effort to helicopter development and founded United Helicopters, which subsequently became Hiller Aircraft.
Two-and-one-half years later, he completed the Model XH-44 Coaxial Helicopter. For this accomplishment, Stanley Hiller received the "Fawcett Award" for his "major contribution to the advancement of aviation." At 24, Hiller built a single rotor UH-5, the forerunner of the Hiller 360 which received its Civil Aeronautics Administration Type Certification in October, 1948.
In 1950, at the outset of the Korean Conflict, Hiller personally directed the sales efforts that resulted in his firm producing its first military helicopter, the H-23A. Used primarily for medical evacuation and popularized later in the TV series, "MASH", some 1,200 of his H-23 Models were delivered to the Army in a 12-year period.
Continuing his quest for design simplicity and reduced cost, Hiller then directed his company's R&D efforts into the field of tip propulsion, his YH-32 Hornet being powered by two 11-lb. ramjet engines mounted at the tips of its two-blade main rotor. In the process, the Hiller 8RJ2B ramjet engine received Type Certification in 1954, the first jet engine to be CAA-certified. In 1956, a quantity of YH-32s were delivered to the Army for evaluation.
In other Army-Navy related efforts, Hiller pursued the experimental XROE-1 one-man helicopter and the VZ-1E Flying Platform, both break-through projects. His X-18 VTOL aircraft sustained Tri-Service user interest in a large, four-engine tilt-wing VTOL transport aircraft.

Pierre Satre 1909-1980

Designer of Caravelle and Concorde amongst many other types

Henry 'Jerry' Shaw 1892-1977

Henry 'Jerry' Shaw flew in the RFC and RAF during the First World War, and in June 1919 joined Aircraft Transport and Travel Ltd, one of the pioneer commercial operators, as chief pilot and aerodrome manager.
On July 15, 1919, he piloted the first international commercial flight in a D.H.9C from Hendon to Le Bourget. His long connection with Shell-Mex and Shell began in October 1921 and lasted until he joined the de Havilland sales organization in 1952, from where he retired 10 years later.

Charles Timothy Wilkins O.B.E., F.R.Ae.S 1913-1979

C. T. Wilkins joined deHavilland at Stag Lane' in 1928 after four years at Weybridge with Vickers, where he had started his career' in aviation after leaving Brighton College. He became a member of the design team, then no more than 30 strong and including R. E. Bishop, R.M. Clarkson, Hessel Tiltman and W.G. Carter under the leadership of Capt Geoffrey de Havilland, chief designer A. E. Hagg and C. C. Walker, the chief engineer.
That small team designed a great number of very successful and advanced aeroplanes in the decade that ended at the outbreak of the; Second World War. Apart from a period of two years in the depression of 1930-32, when he left Stag Lane to work with Cierva on the Auto giro, Tim Wilkins played a major part in the design of all the aircraft that: came from the de Havilland stable, including such notable types as the Puss Moth, Leopard Moth, Rapide, Comet Racer,
Albatross and Flamingo.
As assistant chief designer under R. E. Bishop he worked on the design and development of one of the outstanding aircraft of the Second World War, the Mosquito, followed by the Hornet. The post-war phase of his career was devoted to the Comet I and its later developments.
In 1954 he was appointed chief designer and, four years later, technical director, assuming
control of the team that designed the Trident and HS.125. He held this appointment until 1963, when, after transferring to Hawker Siddeley Dynamics, he became director and chief engineer space projects, remaining there until he retired in 1970. He was a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and was honoured with an OBE in 1953.

Barry P. Laight OBE 1920-

Barry Laight OBE, engineer and aircraft designer, who became Technical Director of Blackburn Aircraft, chief designer for the Blackburn Buccaneer, then for Hawker Siddeley. He helped design the HS.Hawk as well as the HS. P.1154 (which was cancelled). He was President of the Royal Aeronautical Society from 1974-5.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Edward Henry Heinemann 1908-1991

Edward Henry Heinemann was born in Saginaw, Michigan on 14 March 1908, he moved to California in 1914, where he began work with the Douglas Aircraft Company in 1926 as a draftsman. He served as project engineer before becoming Chief Engineer in 1936 and Vice President for Military Aircraft in 1958. In 1960, he joined Guidance Technology as Executive Vice President and in 1961 became Corporate Vice President Engineering for General Dynamics, a position from which he retired in 1973.
Heinemann was responsible either totally or in part for the design and development of more than 20 outstanding military aircraft. To name but a few, the SBD Dauntless dive bomber of World War II fame of which 4982 were built; the A-20 and a A-26 light bombers of which over 8000 were built; the A-1 Skyraider; the F4D Skyray; the supersonic research aircraft D-558 Skystreak; and his crowning achievement, the outstanding A-4D Skyhawk.
He died on 26 November 1991 at the age of 83.