Although the jet engine represented a major breakthrough in aircraft propulsion – opening up substantial increases in aircraft speed and altitude performance – its introduction into RAF service was remarkably smooth from an engineering and supply perspective, with the related challenges being progressively resolved within the first decade. This lecture explores the categories of influence against the build-up of jet aircraft in the period from 1945 -1955. It will cover the significant contribution made by Sir Frank Whittle to in-service jet engine reliability and maintainability, the issues of new types of fuel and lubricants, flight line hazards and handling, aircraft support and aircrew survival systems, trade skills and technical organisation as the RAF entered the jet age.
About the speaker:
AVM Graham Skinner CBE, Royal Air Force
Graham Skinner was a member of No 12 (University) Entry at the RAF Technical College, Henlow in 1963 and went on to obtain a first class honours degree in Aeronautical Engineering at Bristol University. He spent time in helicopter squadrons at Odiham and Sharjah were followed by armament duties on Lightnings at Coltishall. A MSc in Industrial Management from Loughborough University led on to tours at 60MU Leconfield, then 5 MU Kemble, staff college at Bracknell, weapons engineering in MOD, and OC Engineering Wing at RAF Valley from 1983-85. He subsequently completed staff tours at HQ Strike Command on weapons and aircraft engineering, a succession of starred posts at HQ Logistics Command Brampton and Wyton with Engineering and Supply policy, Tornado and Eurofighter Support Authority, before becoming the final Commander-in-Chief and transferring Command resources mainly to joint logistics arrangements prior his retirement in September 2000.
Since then he has been a Visiting Professor for Cranfield University supporting the Royal Military College of Science Shrivenham, the Military Adviser to Marshall Aerospace, Cambridge, and today remains a Non-Executive Director of Short Brothers plc, Bombardier Aerospace in Belfast. He has also just completed his year as Master of The Worshipful Company of Engineers in the City of London.