September, 1945 AIRCRAFT ENGINEERIN G 249 the position it occupies in the table or "tree " of functions pinned up on the walls of senior staff. Who can doubt, for instance, that a Aircraft Engineering Director General of Scientific Research would get a larger proportion of the funds allowed by a grudging Treasury to his Department Th e Monthly Scientific and Technical than would a Director ? If only for this reason, we are perfectly certain that when the final home of research in the Government Orga n of the Aeronautical Engineering organization is decided upon, strenuous efforts must be made for Professio n adequate recognition of the importance of the subject. It is to our mind quite nonsensical, for example, that there should be a Editor:Lieut.-Col. W. Lockwood Marsh, O.B.E., F.R.Ae.S.,M.S.A.E., F.I.Ae.S. separate Minister of Civil Aviation while Research, on which the future of civil, as all other, aviation depends, is dealt with by a department obscurely merged in an Air Ministry or Ministry of Vol. XVII. No. 199. September, 1945 Aircraft Production. The Wider Question The whole question of the future organization of air matters is EWS that is gradually filtering through as a result of the one that must be decided by the Government eventually and until visits of various missions of investigation to Germany show this has been settled it is difficult to formulate any scheme as to that in that country notable developments have been made the position of research. The Ministry of Aircraft Production has in the last six years in various aspects of aeronautics. Indeed it already been merged in the Ministry of Supply and it seems possible appears that the stress of war has been allowed to interfere com that both may ultimately disappear. In that case, two separate paratively little with research—properly so called—as distinct from Ministries for Air (Service) and Civil Aviation may or may not development work. survive—and if they do it is not easy to fit in research without one or other of its aspects being overshadowed by the other. In any event, we are quite clear that Research and Development must have On This Picture and on This separate representation from Production on the Board or Council of In England, on the other hand, the position that we envisaged the Ministry in which they arc placed; otherwise they will suffer, in these columns in September, 1939, and again in November, 1940, as they have done in the past. has to a very large extent developed. One has only to look at the expansion of the production side of the Ministry of Aircraft Produc A Responsible Minister tion, and the publicity and recognition accorded to the leading personalities employed there, compared with the obscurity and One possible solution that occurs to us is tha t a fuller recognition lack of encouragement of the work of the individuals engaged on should be given to the fact that research in general—apart from research, to realize the contrast. We are very far from saying that aeronautical—is in this country administered by the Lord President no advances in fundamental knowledge have been made over here of the Council, through the Department of Scientific and Industrial during the war—to argue such a thesis would be absurd—but we Research; though as one of many amorphous, and constantly do feel that day-to-day opportunism has to a regrettable extent varying duties. been allowed to overcast long-scale investigations. A Tentative Proposal We believe that, however understandable this preoccupation with immediate problems may in the circumstances have been, We hesitate to advocate adding another to the already too the time has come for a new outlook and for the whole position numerous Ministries and therefore compromise on the suggestion to be reviewed. We do not think, for one thing, that a nearly tha t the member of the Government already responsible might adequate position is allotted to the Directorate of Scientific Research perhaps have an addition to his title and be called Lord President in the organization of the Ministry of Supply and Aircraft Produc of the Council and Minister of Research. Aeronautical research is tion. It, to our mind, occupies altogether too lowly a place. tending to become more and more closely intertwined with research on other matters—witness, for instance, the case of radiolocation in the Army and the Navy (and Merchant Service) as Well as in the Adequate Recognition air ; and the metallurgical developments in new metals of increasing A great deal of lip service has been paid, particularly in political interest to other industries than the aircraft—and it may be that it circles, to the importance of research and the "neglect" of this would be better to remove it from its " watertight compartment " branch of our life in England in the past, but there is as yet no and bring it into closer touch with research for other industries. sign of a proper appreciation of what should be done to remedy This would, at any rate, place it in congenial surroundings removed this state of affairs. Admittedly, since in 1909 a wise Government, from the obstruction from which it tends to suffer at present. at the instance of the far-seeing LORD HALDANE, inaugurated the Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (developed into the present Th e Time Has Come Aeronautical Research Committee in 1920), aeronautical research We do not know. We are merely trying to list the various has been far better organized than any other branch of science in possibilities for those in authority to consider and weigh one against England and the " set up " has been widely copied in other coun another. What we are quite unequivocally pressing for is a definite tries. But if we are to maintain the leading place we had established place for it in the Governmental hierarchy commensurate with its before the war, not only must there be—as is indeed already in train—a considerable expansion in equipment but a fuller recogni undoubted importance as the life-blood of the long-scale future of tion of the importance of the subject must be given in Governmental British aviation, both military and civil, in the world. We have —and, particularly, departmental—circles. always possessed the brains, let us now see to it they are given the support and supplies that they need if they are to keep abreast of, and in advance of, the aeronautical scientists of other countries. A Matter of Prestige Aeronautical research started as an appendage to technical develop Frankly, sufficient funds and "priority" for research and ment—it was then accorded its own Director—later still it was experiment will never be allotted until far greater prominence is given representation on the Air Council, but tacked on to Supply given to the department organizing them. In civil service circles, —in 1940 it became merely a department in the Ministry of Aircraft however regrettable it may be, the degree of prestige and amount Production. I t has now reached the stage when it should be given of support given to a matter largely depends upon the size of the its own spokesman on the council of the Ministry, whichever that department administering it and the prominence or lowliness of may be, in which it is incorporated.
Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 1, 1945