In the days before technical papers and podcasts, the Aeronautical Journal was dominated by reports of key lectures held at the Society. This practice continued into the early 1970s. Not only did the Aeronautical Journal publish transcripts of lectures, they also noted down the questions asked by members and the answers the speakers gave. Late last year the NAL sent John Ackroyd scans from its complete collection of the Aeronautical Journal and he told us what he found:

I've recently been trawling through the discussions following important RAeS lectures in the 1920s and 1930s. They can be more revealing than the lectures themselves. One example is A R Low taking Bairstow to task on Britain's neglect of Lanchester's & Prandtl's ideas. Another is the discussion following Melvill Jones' lecture on the streamline aeroplane in which certain eminent designers can be found harrumphing away along the lines that they'd already achieved 70% of MJ's ideal speed, so what was the problem? MJ's riposte invited them to figure out just how much engine power they were still wasting

Another is Bairstow's remark after MacColl's lecture on Germany's recent advances on boundary layers, along the lines that, never mind all this boundary-layer stuff, we here aim to solve analytically the complete Navier-Stokes equations. I wish!  So let's have more of these recorded discussions to give posterity something meaty to chew over.

The National Aerospace Library holds the compete set of the RAeS’s Aeronautical Journal, Aeronautical Quarterly and AEROSPACE together with hundreds of other titles. For a small fee, the NAL can send electronic copies of journal articles across the world and visitors can read the originals in Farnborough. Details on over Aeronautical Journal 6000 articles via the library catalogue, just include Aeronautical Journal in your search.

Subscribers to the Aeronautical Journal can access all papers published since March 2003 as part of their subscription. To find out more about accessing the Aeronautical Journal online or on subscribing to the journal, including the 82% members discount rate, visit the Aeronautical Journal webpages.

John Ackroyd
22 April 2015