Oral history of British science
Higton, Dennis (Part 14 of 24). An Oral History of British Science.
The British Library Board acknowledges the intellectual property rights of those named as contributors to this recording and the rights of those not identified.
Legal and ethical usage »
Interviewee’s home, Shrewton, Salisbury
Higton, Dennis, 1921-2012 (speaker, male)
Lean, Thomas (speaker, male)
Part 14: Remarks on others in A squadron: Cambridge mathematician Kay Harrison who married Tony Richardson; disagreements with Pete Thorne; ex air-force personnel, analysis staff; Ron Starr, who married Jean, a good engineer who DH could had problems getting promoted and sent to work on aircraft carriers. [08:44] Remarks on: career progression, career grade; other squadrons at Boscombe Down. [10:25] Remarks on DH tasks connected with Swift: Boscombe hope that DH could find way of getting aircraft into service; Handel Davies and Pete Thorne; Pete Thorne's test flights; Swift casualties; unexpected problems; pilot's notes. [16:40] Story about DH breaking leg whilst skiing in Austria with Handel Davies and Ron Starr. [20:15] Remarks on A Squadron work clearing of aircraft for service. Story about DH visit to France to discuss flight testing, design of French pilot control stick, air brakes on Hunter and Etendard. [24:55] Remarks on: comparison between UK and French aviation industry; French consideration of aviation as art form; anecdote about Dai Morris in France on annual visit; limited involvement in Hunter; TSR2 work at Boscombe before its cancellation. [29:10] Story about being asked to transfer to C-Squadron to look after naval aircraft on request of pilot Stan Orr. [32:10] Comments on: Stan Orr, rough diamond, got on well with DH; trials of prototype DH110 Sea Vixon and Scimitar; David Dick and other being sorry to see Handel Davies transferred; good relations with navy. [35:10] Remarks on deck landing trials: mirror landing system; previous DH110 accidents; DH flying DH110 with Stan Orr to deck landings ashore; crash of a Scimitar piloted by Tony Riquel; DH boarding aircraft carrier; anecdote about DH and Orr landing on carrier in Lime Bay; [41:50] Scimitar tests with Mike Lythgoe; nose leg on DH110 collapsing on landing; success a boost for DH career; experience of arrested landing in a DH110; reports, drawbacks; [47:00 pause] other tests on aircraft, drawbacks. [49:39] Comments on getting on well with navy. [52:00] Comments on: NA39 naval strike aircraft leading to Blackburn Buccaneer; developments of Scimitar and Sea Vixen; DH visiting firms to discuss problems and flying test flights. [57:20] Remarks on: Bucanneer; differences in outlook between DH and Boscombe; poor engines on first Buccaneer; visiting Lossemouth base; DH changing Boscombe procedures; DH entertaining naval pilots at home, such as Dick Grado[?] [1:03:25]; visiting firms, such as Supermarine on Swift; problem of pitch up; engine problems and meetings on Buccaneer; small service culture of navy; [1:06:25] improved atmosphere at Boscombe, need for engineers. [1:07:50] Story about loosing a plane [piloted by Ozzie Brown] in a trial to a fault, trial film recovered, blown flaps. [1:10:50] Comments on DH fixing problems with Buccaneer, flying with Mike Crossley, using Bedford computers to help solve problems. [1:14:50] Remarks on selection of Buccaneer.
Interview with aeronautical engineer Dennis Higton.