Oral history of British science
Dommett, Roy (Part 12 of 19). An Oral History of British Science.
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Interviewee’s home, Fleet
Dommett, Roy, 1933- (speaker, male)
Lean, Thomas (speaker, male)
Part 12: Comments on working in RAE: becoming an expert in aerodynamic heating during Blue Streak work, leading to later role helping with WE177 Buccaneer carriage. Remarks on: early aerodynamic problems dropping Blue Danube from a Valiant; Pugsley and Collar's work on airship structures and aero-elasticity problems, which were incorporated in RD's university education; RD's vacation placement at RAE working with H Robinson on guided weapons, meaning that Robinson was keen to involve RD in Black Knight work when he joined RAE. [06:10] Remarks on: demonstrating the right attitude to make a good recruit, civil service progression; having an impromptu interview in London; joining RAE and being assigned to guided weapons instead of structures; repairing a test vehicle with a mallet at Aberporth. [10:15] Comments on: cramped shared office at Farnborough; working on a handbook of supersonic data, to which RD contributed on airflow over cones and bodies, which led to his later Blue Streak work on heat transfer; taking over on an RAeS panel from Ken Weaver. [12:20] Remarks on: work on Bluestreak re-entry vehicle; work on flow fields over rectangular wings with Ted Phythian, difficulties of theoretical work; engineering approach with reference to wind tunnel data; importance of calculations before trials; RD's awareness of early technical Blue Streak work, with details of work by Ralph Ulrich, Ian Petey and Stan Green. [18:35] Remarks on RD's early work: corner diversion and problems of supersonic vortices, mathematical formula; sitting on RAE Blue Streak panels; writing up work on problems of putting a spherical warhead into a sphere, with reference to Eiffel's work dropping spheres, description of testing models on the range at Orford Ness, and the problems of airflow over spheres. [23:55] Dates of promotions: SO 1954, SS 1958, PSO 1967, SPSO 1972, DCSO 1982.
Interview with rocket scientist and aeronautical engineer Roy Dommett