He was believed to have said "we could have had jets" in reference to the ignoring of jet engine possibilities prior to the start of the 1939-45 world war.
'The de Havilland World Enterprise included the de Havilland Engine Company and de Havilland Propeller Company. The Engine Company, led by Major Frank Halford, a gifted engineer who led the design of the Gipsy series of engines, pioneered jet turbine development and produced rocket engines. The Propeller Company developed variable pitch propellers, many of which were fitted to Hurricanes and Spitfires, and other combat aircraft in WWII, as well as post war development of air-to-air guided missiles. The de Havilland companies therefore produced aircraft from basic trainers to jet airliners and supersonic fighters: piston, jet and rocket engines; propellers, missiles and space rockets. This was an achievement unequalled by any other aerospace manufacturer world-wide.'
Excerpt from a brilliant biography well worth reading as it detailas not only his life but his fantastic career and aircraft designs:- The de Havilland Aircraft Company - the website of the De Havilland Aircraft Museum
by Philip Birtles, President of the de Havilland Aircraft Museum – January 2016
Captain Sir Geoffrey de Havilland, OM, CBE, AFC, RDI, FRAeS, (27 July 1882 – 21 May 1965) of De Havilland was a British aviation pioneer and aircraft engineer. His Mosquito has been considered the most versatile war-plane ever built.
1882 July 27th. Born at Terriers Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, the second son of the Reverend Charles de Havilland and his first wife, Alice Jeannette (née Saunders).
He was educated at Nuneaton Grammar School, St Edward's School, Oxford.
1901 Living at the Rectory, Crux Easton, Hampshire: Charles de Havilland (age 46 born Toller Porcorum), Clergyman in the Church of England. With his wife Alice T. de Havilland (age 46 born Birmingham) and their children Ivon de Havilland (age 21 Woburn Green), Electrical Engineer; Geoffrey de Havilland (age 18 Hazlemere), Mechanical Engineer; Lone F. T. de Havilland (daughter) (age 15 born Nuneaton); Gladys M. de Havilland (age 125 born Nuneaton); and Hereward de Havilland (age 6 born Nuneaton). Also one boarder. Four servants.
1900 Attended the Crystal Palace School of Engineering (from 1900 to 1903).
After engineering school, his first interest was in automotive engineering, building cars and motorcycles. He took an apprenticeship with engine manufacturers Willans and Robinson of Rugby.
1905 he became a draughtsman at 30s. a week with the Wolseley Tool and Motor Car Co in Birmingham, but, disliking the dull work and harsh management, he resigned after a year.
c.1906 He subsequently spent two years working in the design office of the Vanguard Motor Bus Co at Walthamstow.
1908 Inspired by the aeronautical flights of Wilbur Wright, he borrowed between £500 and £1000 from his maternal grandfather (an Oxford businessman) and designed his own aeroplane and engine.
1909 May 27th. Married Louise Thomas, the daughter of Richard Thomas (deceased), engineer, of Chepstow.
1909 December. De Havilland's first plane took two years to build but he crashed it during its first very short flight near Litchfield, Hampshire. A memorial today marks the place.
During 1910 he taught himself to fly in a second prototype. His first employee was Frank Trounson Hearle.
1910 Birth of son Geoffrey Raoul de Havilland
1910 September. Successfully flew his new built biplane from a meadow near Newbury
1910 December Appointed designer and test pilot at the H. M. Balloon Factory at Farnborough, which was to become the Royal Aircraft Factory and they bought his biplane and this became the FE1
1911 Living at 2 Alpha Villas, Alexandra Road, South Farnborough: Geoffrey De Havilland (age 28 born Haslemere), Aeronautical Repairer working for the Government. With his wife Louie De Havilland (age 31 born Glaston, Rutland) and their son Geoffrey Raoul De Havilland (age 1 born Crux Easton, Hants.).
1912 Established a new British altitude record of 10,500 feet, in an aircraft of his design.
1914 January. Appointed an inspector of aircraft in the Aeronautical Inspection Directorate.
1914 May. Unhappy leaving design work, he was recruited to become the Chief Designer at Airco, in Hendon. He designed many aircraft for Airco all designated using his initials DH. Large numbers of de Havilland designed aircraft were used during the First World War flown by the Royal Flying Corps and later Royal Air Force.
1918 October 17th. Birth of son John de Havilland
1920? Airco was bought by BSA but they were only interested in using the company factories for car production.
1920 September 25th. De Havilland raised £20,000, bought the relevant assets he needed and formed the de Havilland Aircraft Company at Stag Lane Aerodrome, Edgware where de Havilland and his company designed and built a large number of aircraft including the Moth family of aircraft.
Post-WWI The Aircraft Manufacturing Company together with Captain De Havilland were awarded £35,000 by the Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors for the D.H. aeroplanes
1933 the company moved to Hatfield Aerodrome, in Hertfordshire. One of his roles was as test pilot for the company's aircraft, in all of which he liked to fly.
The company's planes, particularly the Mosquito played a formidable role in World War II and de Havilland was knighted in 1944.
He controlled the company until it merged with Hawker Siddeley Company after crashes of the Comet jet airliner in the mid-1950s.
De Havilland retired from active involvement in his company in 1955, though remaining as president. He continued flying up to the age of seventy.
1965 May 21st. Died aged 82, of a cerebral hemorrhage, at Watford Peace Memorial Hospital, Middlesex.
From The Grace's Guide
Actresses Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine are de Havilland's cousins; his father, Charles, and their father, Walter, were half-brothers.
Geoffrey had a brilliant life but it must have been also excruciatingly difficult at times :- Two of the sons died as test pilots in de Havilland aircraft. His youngest son, John, died in an air collision involving two Mosquitoes in 1943. Geoffrey carried out the first flights of the Mosquito and Vampire and was killed in 1946 flying the jet-powered DH 108 Swallow while diving at or near the speed of sound. Louise suffered a nervous breakdown following these deaths and died in 1949.
His dealing with the Comet crashes :- In his autobiography, Sky Fever (1961), he said: ‘Words are utterly inadequate to describe the sense of loss and shock from such tragedies.’ He also felt guilty for the Comet crashes of 1954. His retirement in 1955 no doubt had been influenced by the death of his friend, Frank Halford.
It has brought tears to my eyes putting this together. A truly amazing person. Words cannot express my admiration.
Geoffrey de Havilland, c.1925.
Geoffrey de Havilland at Perth, Western Australia after winning the fastest overall time prize in the 1929 Centenary Air Race
Arthur Ernest Hagg
Born 1888 Died21 January 1985
Aircraft designer known for the designs of the de Havilland DH.88 Comet racer, Albatross, Express and Airspeed Ambassador airliners.
He was born in Brighton and educated in Bournemouth. He started work for Airco in 1915, aged 27, and worked as a draftsman on the DH4 in 1916. He transferred to the de Havilland Aircraft company (Stag Lane) when it was created in 1920.
At de Havilland he invented the differential ailerons used on the Tiger Moth and other de Havilland aircraft eventually becoming chief designer. In this role he was responsible for the designs of the DH88 Comet racer and of the Albatross and the Express airliners.
Hagg became interested in boat building and in early 1937 he resigned his position as director and chief designer at de Havilland to set up the Walton Yacht Works.
In November of that year he also became a consultant with D Napier and Son, Ltd., carrying out the preliminary design work on the Napier-Heston Racer, a wooden aircraft powered by a 2,450 horsepower (1,830 kW) Halford developed Napier Sabre engine and designed to break the world airspeed record.
Ground engine testing of the “Racer” prototype began on the 9th of February 1940, with Heston’s chief test pilot, Squadron Leader G.L.G. Richmond beginning successful vibration and taxiing tests on the 12 of March, 1940 and continuing them for several months. The “Racer” passed all phases of the ground taxiing tests and prolonged engine run-up, the newly designed aircraft seemed to have no faults.
It was decided to wait for perfect weather. Finally on June 12 1940, Richmond decided to test fly the Heston racer. He taxied out without the canopy. As the aircraft raced across Heston’s grass strip at full power, control and response was more than adequate. Then the racer hit a bad irregularity in the grassy surface very hard, causing the Heston to rotate prematurely into a very nose-high attitude. Thirty seconds or so after hitting the bump and full throttle and becoming airborne, the engine coolant temps went critical. Richmond found himself in an unfamiliar flight attitude in a new aircraft that employed a uniquely designed and sensitive flight control system, the landing gear down and no canopy. His first landing in the Heston was going to be hot.
Six minutes after opening the throttle, he had made a wide circuit at about 20 mph, throttled back, and set up for the landing approach. The ignition was not switched off and the De Haviland-Hamilton constant-speed prop was not feathered. Witnesses say that he levelled out at about 30 ft, stalled, and “banged it” on, quite possibly because he was being scalded from below - there is speculation that an engine coolant pipe or fitting had fractured during the hard bump incident at takeoff.
Whether the aircraft stalled or not, it arrived at the field at an excessive rate of descent, hit the ground hard, drove the landing gear through the wings, broke the tail, and ensued other major airframe damage before coming to rest. The pilot was scalded but not badly hurt, the Heston was a complete write-off.
The question since that fateful day has been: Would the purposely built Napier-Heston Racer have been capable of recapturing the world speed record? The racer never had a chance to do so because of the circumstances that occurred. It’s design is still regarded by many to have represented the pinnacle in powered flight.
In January 1943 he joined Airspeed Ltd. as technical director and was responsible for the Airspeed Ambassador (BEA Elizabethan).He retired in 1947.
Source - Wikipedia
Napier- Heston Racer
Born 27 February 1903Kensington
Died 1989, London, United Kingdom
Significant awards Royal Aeronautical Society
Aircraft designed de Havilland Mosquito, de Havilland Comet
Significant advance de Havilland Mosquito, de Havilland Comet
Employer(s) de Havilland 1921 – 64
Engineering discipline Aeronautics
Ronald Eric Bishop CBE FRAeS (27 February 1903 – 11 June 1989) was the chief designer of the de Havilland Mosquito, one of the most famous aircraft of the Second World War. Bishop also designed the de Havilland Comet jetliner of 1949.
He joined de Havilland as an apprentice aged 18 in 1921, and would work there for the next forty three years. He joined the company's design office in 1923, .
Ron Bishop became the Chief Designer in 1936, taking over from Arthur Ernest Hagg. The first aircraft for which he was responsible was the DH95 Flamingo- the company's first all-metal monoplane. It had a stressed-skin and carried 17 passengers, first flying on 22 December 1938. Winston Churchill used one to journey to France in the early months of the war before Dunkirk (Operation Dynamo).
Also in his design team were:
Starting in 1938, the outstanding achievement of his design office was the DH.98 Mosquito. Conceived as an unarmed bomber, it was expected to reach an unprecedented 376 mph, but managed 388 mph when first tested - Britain's fastest aircraft at the time - and became known as the Wooden Wonder. The Air Ministry had not been amenable to the radical and untried idea of an unarmed bomber, let alone one made of a seemingly obsolete material like wood, and did not fund the design. But Air Chief Marshal Sir Wilfrid Freeman was interested and boldly championed the concept - through official scepticism the plane became known as Freeman's Folly. However, his confidence was fully justified as it became the fastest wartime aircraft for two and a half years. The concept of a fast, unarmed bomber was amply justified in practice with very low loss rates. The plane was officially announced on 26 October 1942 - de Havilland's first military plane since the Airco DH.10 of the First World War. On 5 May 1943 its high speed prowess was announced.
After the war he became Design Director on the company's board of directors on 27 December 1946 until February 1964, when he retired. Later that year in October he received the Gold Medal of the RAeS.
In December 1954, Tim Wilkins became head of design at de Havilland.
Aircraft he was responsible for were:
(1866 - 1953)
John Davenport Siddeley was born on August 5, 1866 at Chorlton upon Medlock, an inner suburb of Manchester, the eldest son of William Siddeley and Elizabeth, née Davenport. Leavng school at 15, he worked in his father's business as an apprentice hosier but meantime attended classes at Manchester Technical College and afterwards at Owens (now Manchester University), where he developed his mechanical acumen to the extent that in 1885 he began designing bicycles.
In 1892 he went to Coventry as the only draftsman and designer at the Humber Cycle Works. From the Humber Works he went to the Dunlop organisation and was appointed sales manager in Belfast, before returning to the midlands to run Dunlop's subsidiary, the Clipper Tyre Company. For publicity, Siddeley became the first person to ride a bicycle from John o' Groats to Land's End. He then became involved with motor cars, at first through pneumatic tyres, which led him to form the Siddeley Autocar Company in 1902, utilizing Peugeot designs under licence. His success persuaded the Wolseley Tool & Motor Car Company, which was part of Vickers Sons & Maxim, to hire him and there he honed his management skills before resigning as general manager in 1909. He became managing director of the struggling Deasy Motor Car Manufacturing Company in Parkside, Coventry and so transformed its position that the marque was renamed Siddeley-Deasy.
The war was the making of the company, leading first to government orders for lorries and motor cars and then, most significantly, to aero-engine and airframe production. Siddeley persuaded the directors to sanction a move into the aviation field. Siddeley's engineers resolved the teething problems of the B.H.P. (Beardmore-Halford-Pullinger) aero-engine and it became the Siddeley Puma; it proved so reliable that it was the principal design in use by British bombers at the war's conclusion. The engineering staff was considerably strengthened when a number of distinguished personnel arrived from the Royal Aircraft Factory at Farnborough in 1917.
To support his ambitious post-war plans, Siddeley arranged a take-over by the armaments and shipbuilding giant Armstrong Whitworth, in April 1919, with Siddeley-Deasy becoming Armstrong Siddeley Motors. Later, in July 1920, Sir W. G. Armstrong, Whitworth Aircraft Ltd was formed. Both companies were under the umbrella of a holding company, the Armstrong Whitworth Development Company. Siddeley made successful strides into the armaments field, receiving a knighthood in 1932 for the tank engine supplied to Vickers.
The major success story of the decade was with the Jaguar air-cooled aero-engine, which was developed from a Farnborough design with Siddeley insistently prodding on the project. Its success was such that until the late 1920s Armstrong Siddeley was the major recipient of government orders for military aero-engines. Siddeley utilized this position to full advantage by having Armstrong Whitworth airframes designed around the Jaguar. The Siskin single-seater fighter and Argosy airliner were notable outcomes.
In 1926 when he was at last elected to the board of the parent company, he discovered that it was in a most unsatisfactory financial state. This provided Siddeley with the opportunity to gain control of his companies and by February 1927 he was chairman of all three, with the holding company renamed the Armstrong Siddeley Development Company. In his final years, Siddeley expanded his business empire through a number of astute take-overs, which included the aeronautics firm A. V. Roe, the piston supplier Peter Hooker (which became High Duty Alloys), and Improved Gears Ltd (later Self-Changing Gears), whose gearbox was highly successful.
While Siddeley was enjoying his success with the Jaguar engine his rivals, especially Bristol and Rolls-Royce, were busy producing high-power designs which Armstrong Siddeley was unable to match in the 1930s. Siddeley has been accused of complacency, of not devoting sufficient funds to research and development, and of undue interference with engine design, which led two of his major designers to leave. The death of two other critical engine staff was also crucial in diminishing Armstrong Siddeley's design capabilities, while Siddeley's reputation as a domineering employer deterred others of similar calibre from filling the vacancies. A major blow was sustained in 1934 when the Air Ministry preferred the Bristol-powered Gloster Gauntlet to the Armstrong Whitworth Scimitar.
By 1935 Siddeley was nearing seventy. He had accumulated a large personal fortune and had no need to continue working. He arranged a merger with Hawker, for which he received £1 million and numerous benefits, officially retiring from his executive positions on 30 September 1936. Siddeley became a tax exile in Jersey, while maintaining several British homes. In 1937 he purchased Kenilworth Castle and the same year was created Baron Kenilworth.
John Davenport Siddeley, 1st Baron Kenilworth, died at the Bon Air Nursing Home, St Saviour, Jersey, on 3 November 1953.
by Roger Moss
The Sphinx – The Mascot of Armstrong Siddeley.
(1893 - 1947)
Roy Chadwick was born on April 30th, 1893 at Marsh Hall Farm, Farnworth in Widnes, son of the mechanical engineer Charles Chadwick. He attended St Luke's church school in Weaste, and then St Clements Church School in Urmston, Lancashire. He made his own early model planes and flew them at night for fear of ridicule. At 14 he entered The British Westinghouse, Electrical and Engineering Works in Manchester, as a trainee draughtsman; and worked here for four years in the Design Office, and on the shop floor.
After work, on three nights a week, Roy Chadwick attended The Manchester College of Technology, built in 1903. It is now The Institute of Science and Technology, and part of Manchester University. A plaque to Roy Chadwick stands, high on the wall, in the Institute's Entrance Hall. Here, from 1907-1911, Roy studied Pure and Applied Mathematics Calculus, and the Design of Petrol engines, etc. At the end of 1911 he joined Alliott Verdon-Roe in his newly established firm, A.V.Roe and Co Ltd. in Ancoats, Manchester. Here, Roy was Alliott's Personal Assistant, and the firm's draughtsman.
The first job Roy Chadwick had at Avros' was to take notes, from Roe, make sketches, and to proceed to the drawing board. Here to draft the Avro D, a two seated tractor biplane, and by 1912 had progressed to designing in collaboration with A.V. Roe. The Avro Type 504 was amongst the first types that Chadwick co-designed.
In 1915, by now chief draughtsman, Chadwick designed The Avro Pike, a twin engine, biplane bomber. It was the first bomber in the world to have internal stowage for bombs; and a gun turret, aft of the wings. Two later planes had 190hp Rolls Royce engines. The Pike was built at Avro's new, Experimental Station at Hamble, Southampton. Chadwick had his Design Office there and now lived in the area, but still went up to the Manchester works frequently, to liase at all levels.
After the Pike Roy Chadwick designed three more large fighting planes, and in 1918 he became, officially, chief designer. The same year he designed the world's first true, light aeroplane, the Avro Baby. It was in February 1921, while up on a test flight in a Baby, that Chadwick received severe injuries: he had gone up without his flying jacket and apparently fainted. He came to as he was crashing into trees beside the aerodrome. His right arm and left leg, and pelvis were severely fractured, and the joystick went through his neck! He later, made a full recovery, thanks to the skill of the great, WW1 surgeon, Sir Arbuthnot Lane, at his clinic in London.
After Avros was sold, Roy Chadwick returned to live near Manchester, and to his office at A.V. Roe and Co. Ltd, at Newton Heath, Manchester. There he continued to lead the design department through such aircraft as the Tutor, the Anson and perhaps his greatest achievement, the Lancaster, created from the ashes of the ill-fated Manchester.
As the war progressed, Roy Chadwick was very anxious that Britain should have its own Civil Aircraft, post war. He began to design an airliner, but due to wartime restrictions, could not design a completely new machine, but had to use existing aircraft parts, tools and jigs. A streamlined, low wing aircraft was the result. Using the Lincoln wing allied to a new, pressurised fuselage, he created the Avro Tudor.
Roy Chadwick's mind was now focused on jet flight, and the Air Ministry Specification B35/46, for a long-range bomber capable of carrying an atomic weapon. Roy Chadwick's thinking progressed to a Delta shape, and he sketched this in the winter of 1946/47, the aircraft that was to become the Avro Vulcan.
Roy Chadwick, CBE MSC FRSA FRAeS, did not live to see the Avro Vulcan fly. On Saturday, August 23rd, 1947, he went to Woodford to take part on a test flight of the Avro Tudor 2. There had been an overnight servicing in which the aileron cables were inadvertently crossed resulting in the machine’s port wing dropping toward the ground, just after take-off, when Avro Test Pilot, Bill Thorn, turned to starboard. The engines were cut, and the machine raced across a field in Shirfold Farm nearby. All would have been well, but there was a dew-pond in the field, surrounded by trees. The Tudor ploughed into the trees and the nose broke off. The two pilots were, most sadly, drowned; and Roy Chadwick, who had been standing in the cockpit, behind the pilots, was flung out 60 yards, and died of a fractured skull.
by Roger Moss
Roy Chadwick and an AVRO 504