Oral history of British science

Higton, Dennis (Part 6 of 24). An Oral History of British Science.

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  • Subjects

    Aeronautical Engineering

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  • Recording locations

    Interviewee’s home, Shrewton, Salisbury

  • Interviewees

    Higton, Dennis, 1921-2012 (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Lean, Thomas (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 6: Remarks on: organisation of aerodynamics department; joining Aero Full Scale, Aero F, eventually renamed Aero Flight; Aero F office, containing high and low speed sections; Ron Smelt assigning DH his first job, working on hurricane air intake position, using models and sand, in a mosquito filled shelter, Ron Smelt adding his name to DH's report; sharing an office with Ron Smelt and Frank Smith. [06:15] Story about returning to work on a Mustang, where he had to drill holes for instruments to measure pressure at different points on wings, working with fitters he knew when he was an apprentice. [08:25] Remarks about: being behind on instrumentation, using cockpit instruments as pressure gauges; working John Charnley; producing a report on Mustang pressure distribution near the speed of sound; death of test pilot Eddie Gale; Ron Smelt and Frank Smith not understanding the intricacies and risks of flight testing as well as DH. [12:30] Comments on job measuring tail loading on Spitfires, with description of methods using light beams and sensors, or strain gauges; DH making a mistake by making light and sensor fixtures out of wood. [18:08] Remarks on Frank Smith, highly qualified but with good practical understanding, DH holding him and Ron Smelt in high regard, helpful to DH. Story about a recent reunion with Frank Smith and John Charnley, where Frank Smith acknowledged the importance of DH's apparatus at a time when Farnborough was seriously short of instrumentation. Short description of Frank Smith, remarks on why DH respected him for his intelligence. [21:45] Remarks on: feeling valued; DH good relationship with fitters, which John Charnley benefited from too; talking with the wise foreman Cox, who was killed in a fire; DH enjoying talking with fitters in hangers.

  • Description

    Interview with aeronautical engineer Dennis Higton.

  • Related transcripts

    Dennis Higton interviewed by Dr Thomas Lean: full transcript of the interview

  • Related links

    Visit this interviewee's page on the 'Voices of Science' web resource

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