Oral history of British science

Higton, Dennis (Part 17 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 17: Comments on visiting American aircraft companies and establishments: example of DH intervening with a toubled Boscombe tropical trial near Mexico border, learning from talking to people, similarity to being an accredited spy; [07:00] comparitive impressions between UK and US, DH amazed by large aircraft factory, anecdote about mistaken identity; problems with UK Phantoms, anecdote about Phantoms parked on St Louis car park; large size of aircraft factory; story about DH and Ken Turner accidentally leaving with a US general's paperwork; importance of integrity. [15:15] Remarks on: British potential purchase of F-111; John Seddon of RAE's help in redesigning F-111 engine inlets; George Bush possibly helping out Americans with Carbon Fibre too much; F-111 intake problems; [20:30] DH learning about strain gauge use in testing aircraft at Aimes laboratory; not keeping a notebook; importance of appropriate timing when dealing with Americans; relationship with American scientists; DH relief at returning home and not having to play the game any more; [24:15] DH's unpopular Monday morning meetings at Boscombe Down and Washington; DH visits to Pentagon; anecdote about Ken Turner confusing tenure and 10 years; feelings on leaving US. [27:45] Remarks on: difficult Air Commodore, replaced when DH became director; output reports from department; many visits made by DH, including meeting Neil Armstrong at test pilot school. [30:54] Remarks on benefits of US experience for DH: gaining experience negotiating with a variety of people, minding his integrity, another job on CV in a different environment, noticing American money conscious production habits; gaining expertise in dealing with American who were worried about 'Perfidious Albion' and different levels of interpersonal trust in US; continuing good relations with Americans; [37:00] anecdote about being invited to sail with a poor American sailor on Chesapeake Bay. [37:40] Remarks on: being an 'accredited spy'; trust and integrity in interpersonal relations; DH's tour in US being extended to four years; short return visits to UK, connected with US purchase of Harrier and modifications to increase speed by 2 knots; making friends through work, such as David Eagles. [Closed between 43:06-43:38 until 2032].

  • 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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