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August 27, 2015 / consort3


With the total blog reads exceeding the height of Everest (these days 29029 ft) I thought I would regale you with a story of another high peak, Olympus, more specifically the jet engine that bears the name. It was used on the Vulcan and the Concorde.
Although not originally designed by him, it will always be associated with Sir Stanley Hooker whose autobiography “Not much of an engineer” is a must read for engineering students. He made his name by doing some small modifications to the Merlin engine supercharger, increasing the power by 25%. Then he came up with the idea of using 2 superchargers in series, effectively doubling the power at high altitude. Mind you, it took Hives, the boss of Rolls Royce to suggest using it in the Spitfire!

As part of his Merlin supercharger activity Hooker and colleagues came up with a formula to predict engine power. He then coined the phrase, the pen is mightier than the spanner. Talking of the Merlin, its early development was difficult:

Hooker was the engineering mastermind behind the Harrier Jump jet, the Concorde and the RB211 jet engine.

Those projects would not have happened without Hookers leadership.
Having made such improvements to the Centrifugal supercharger he thought he was one of the world’s leading experts but then in 1940 he met Frank Whittle who he realised knew more than he did about the subject, Whittle having used the Centrifugal type in his jet engine. The mutual respect between the two led to the Nene engine, a derivative of which powered the Mig15. How the Russians got the technology is interesting but Sir Stafford Cripps was naïve in specifying that they should not be used for military purposes!
Interesting discussion on this

One of the opposing aircraft to the Mig15 in the Korean war was the P80 Shooting star which was also powered by a derivative of the Whittle centrifugal jet. The T33 trainer which derived from the P80 was built in substantial numbers and still used the centrifugal jet as did the Mig17 which had an afterburner. Hooker helpied the Chinese with their copy of the Russian copy of the Nene 25 years after he designed it! He joked that the Russians had even copied the mistakes

The Nene was the “needle” engine to American engine makers especially after Cripps’ mistake.

🆕Fascinating memories of Frank Whittle by his son. But for a colour blind apprentice, Whittle might not have invented the Jet engine!,News-R.html

It was not until I watched the Guy Martin documentary on the last flight of the Vulcan that I was aware of the howl
This is the man whose idea it was to use the Vulcan to help regain the Falklands:

My Dad was in the same squadron as Beetham, 214. Dad was one of the few Brits who crewed the Boeing B17, hence my interest in that maker.

Fantastic teamwork to make it happen, see Rowland Whites book Vulcan 607

It has been 40 years since Concorde entered service. I wish I had taken one of those cheap supersonic flights, so that I could say I have been supersonic. Interesting background article:

It is the 80th anniversary of the first flight of the Spitfire. Mutt Summers was the pilot. See his Wikipedia entry for how he got the nickname. He is second in the number of types flown with 366. More famous these days for his test flights of Barnes Wallis bouncing bomb prototypes. Good piece here:
His bosses would listen to his pronouncements on aircraft and act. Amazingly Bill Waterton at Glosters was not so priviledged with the Javelin.

Talking of unsung heroes, this is Nasa’s Korolev

Korolevs masterpiece Sputnik 1 went into orbit on 4th October 1957 triggering the space race

Another unsung hero, the man who invented aviation glues

Female unsung hero,  aviation pioneer got pilots licence in 1911, aged 47

🆕First woman airline Pilot Jackie Moggridge

Other female aviation pioneers :Letitia Ann Sage 1785 First woman to fly (in Balloon) Georgina  Broadwick 1908 First woman Parachutist. Elise Deroche 1909 First woman pilot . Harriet Quimby 1912 First woman to cross English channel. Lettice Curtis 1941 First woman to fly 4 engine bomber. Margaret Fairweather 1941 First woman to fly Spitfire.  Hannah Reitsch 1938 first woman helicopter pilot. Jacqueline Cochran 1953 First woman through sound barrier.

First woman B29 pilot

Another female unsung hero, Johanna Weber mother of Concorde and Airbus!

From the mother of Concorde  to the mother of the sea!

The lady who invented radar chaff.

Unsung hero aviation pioneer George Cayley

More aviation unsung heroes including Geoffrey Taylor who was Booles grandson and Hookers tutor.

Not aviation but worthy of a mention, Nils Gustaf Dalen, Nobel Laureate and inventor of the AGA cooker, being working class we had its cousin, a Rayburn!én

Unsung hero of the Dieppe raid

James Bond author, Ian Fleming and the Dieppe raid

Founder of MIT’s radiation lab

Unsung hero Harold Gillies developer of Plastic surgery

If you are an aviation enthusiast you might want to fly on Russian metal:

Methinks Hooker would have been proud of this  invention:

Not a lot of people know that Britain entered the space age in 1957!

Voyager thrusters fire after 37 years

VC 10 with RB211 engine

Jaguar have done new builds of the iconic XKSS but the TV programme covering this did not mention their aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer, an unsung hero of mine.

Famous lady engineer Beatrice Shillings tweak of the RR Merlin

My father in law worked for Mono Pumps who make the progressive cavity pump used for moving baked beans.He invented the Mutrator for them. He told me that the progressive cavity pump had been invented by Rene Moineau. I did not realise that Moineau was an aviation pioneer. Link in French;

12/4/21 On the 60th anniverary of the first manned space flight by Yuri Gagarin it seems appropriate to celebrate a unsung space pioneer

Detecting aircraft at night


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