Monday, 5 September 2011

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.