The Journal of Aeronautical History is a web-based, peer-reviewed journal containing papers of an historical nature, covering all aspects of aerospace.


This volume of Journal of Aeronautical History contains only three papers, but is 161 pages long. The length and detail of the papers demonstrates the value of a web-based Journal, in which papers of 120 pages are easy to accommodate. Because of that, Harry Fraser-Mitchell’s “Hawk story” provides a definitive account of the development of the Hawk, including technical explanations of some of the changes to the aircraft.

In the world of civil air transport, Captain Dacre Watson’s history of BOAC shows the pressures on the airline during its first decade, which had to be overcome to allow it to become the great carrier that it now is. His conclusion, that the true legacy of BOAC is the development of the group of world-class airlines of former imperial and colonial countries such as Malaysia and Singapore, which came into existence with much support from BOAC. 

Finally, John Ackroyd’s paper on the evolution of the planform of the Spitfire suggests that it is quite plausible that the distinctive elliptical planform was derived from a diagram in a textbook by Prandtl and Tieijens (1). If that is really what happened, and the evidence is strong, it seems to me a wonderful historical footnote on perhaps the most iconic British aircraft. 

I hope you enjoy reading this volume as much as I and my assistant editors have enjoyed compiling it. Once again, it is a pleasure to thank my assistant editors for their work, and Chris Male and the staff of the Publications Department at the Society for making possible the production of the Journal of Aeronautical History.


Dr C G B (Kit) Mitchell FRAeS

1. PRANDTL, L. and TIETJENS, O. G. Applied Hydro- and Aeromechanics McGraw-Hill, New York, 1934.

Dr C G Mitchell FRAeS