LECTURE: A historical look at RAE Bedford

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December 7, 2010 19:30
December 7, 2010 21:00
BAE Systems Park Centre
BAE Systems Park Centre, Farnborough

The Cody Memorial Lecture

Speaker: Michael Dobson (RAE Retired)

In 1943 World War II was “going reasonably well” and thoughts began to turn towards post-war prosperity. Aviation was seen to offer an attractive commercial opportunity and accordingly was designated as one of the main technologies to be pursued. It was recognised that large, advanced and expensive research facilities would be needed to address the challenge which, it was considered, could be best met through the creation of a new Government Research Establishment. Thus RAE Bedford was born. This talk looks briefly at the development of the Establishment’s facilities and reviews much of the research work undertaken over its fifty-year life.
In the mid-50s Michael [Mike] Dobson was recruited into the Bedford 3-foot Transonic/Supersonic Wind Tunnel as an embryo aerodynamicist. Early work was associated largely with the aerodynamics, stability and control of the various and numerous aircraft projects of the time [Lightning, SR53, TSR2, Jaguar]. Graduating into the aerodynamics of air intakes, he specialised in trying to track down that elusive quantity known as “Pre-Entry Drag”. 1972 saw a career change into research management. Firstly with the MoD HQ Air Research Directorate, secondly as Assistant Director, Air Research Division, Department of Industry, thirdly as Superintendent, Flight Research Division, RAE Bedford, and fourthly [and finally] in the double-hatted post of Head Flight Management Department, RAE and Chief Superintendent, RAE Bedford. Retirement came in 1991.

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