Oral history of British science
Higton, Dennis (Part 17 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 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].
Interview with aeronautical engineer Dennis Higton.