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.