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A prime mover in many of the UK’s leading aircraft designs, Handel Davies discusses his time working with the World War II Aero Flight at RAE Farnborough, advising the Ministry of Aviation on Civil and Military projects during the 1960s through to working for the British Aircraft Corporation in the 1970s.

The Davies interview starts with the same topic of the work at the later part of World War II but, unlike Captain Brown, from his management point of view.  He talks of the technical issues of compressibility research using WWII fast propeller aircraft at Farnborough, praises the wing of the Spitfire, discussed his involvement in the decision not to proceed with the Miles M52 project and covers the problem of Hawker Typhoon pitch down which killed so many pilots. Of particular importance to Handel Davies was the training of test pilots and he discusses how the science of test flying developed, especially with the establishment of the Empire Test Pilots’ School in 1943.

Davies goes onto to talk about the development of delta wing aircraft after the war leading to the design choices of Avro Vulcan, Handley Page Victor and Vickers Valiant bombers, his work at Boscombe Down, overcoming flying issues of delta wings and particularly on the Vulcan and the much different Concorde wing design and the problems with the Supermarine Swift.

The interview was conducted in 1980 by Rodney Giesler and were edited by Mike Stanberry FRAeS.

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19 May 2017