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December, 1944 AIRCRAFT ENGINEERIN G 339 The Two Schemes Compared Aircraft Engineering I t will be seen, therefore, that the original proposal of a modest school attached to a university has grown to what is in effect a Th e Monthly Scientific and Technical self-contained university entirely separate from any other organiza tion. The cost per student works out at £1,260 per annum, com Orga n of the Aeronautical Engineering pared with the present average cost for a university education Professio n of £106 per head—or for a scientific education of £122 per head— Editor:Lieut.-Col. W. Lockwood Marsh, O.B.E., F.R.Ae.S., M.S.A.E., F.I.Ae.S. according to figures given in letters to The Times by MR. H. E. WIMPERIS and MR. R. V. SOUTHWELL. In other words it is proposed Vol. XVI. No . 190 December, 1944 to spend on educating students in one branch of science or tech nology more than ten times as much as it has been proved over long years is in practice sufficient to provide facilities for education in all branches of civil, electrical, chemical and mechanical engineering— N October, 1943, the MINISTER OF AIRCRAFT PRODUCTION to say nothing of mathematics, physics and chemistry— and all their appointed an inter-departmental committee "to prepare and ancillary subjects. The capital expenditure, according to MR. I submit detailed proposals for the establishment of a school of SOUTHWELL, would cover all the post-war needs for ten years of the aeronautical science within the general framework of the recom Imperial College of Science and Technology, which caters for mendations made by the Aeronautical Research Committee in sixteen branches of technology—as well as pure science. their Report of August 10, 1943". On December 21, 1943, the Committee were given discretion to depart from the recommenda A Dubious Proposition tions of the A.R.C. if, on examination, it came to the conclusion that We are ourselves extremely doubtful of the wisdom of even the such departure was desirable. As the Committee, in the event, A.R.C.'s modest scheme. We do not believe that the cause of aero took full advantage of this licence, it is worth while recapitulating nautics is best served by treating it as so special a subject that its these original proposals before detailing, and commenting on, the students must be segregated away from their fellows and immured Committee's own recommendations. in a, cloistered life apart from the general world of science and engineering. We are in favour of spending more money than at The A.R.C. Proposals present and providing much better facilities than are available for The A.R.C. advised that a central post-graduate school in aero the education of students in aeronautics. But we believe that better nautical science and engineering should be established to provide results would be obtained, at an infinitesimal part of the cost, by a course of instruction over two years, the first being general and the increasing the facilities for post-graduate education and research at second, more specialized; the School not to teach at the under existing universities. The Committee makes no reference, by the graduate level. way, to the present ZAHAROFF Chair of Aviation at the Imperial College, which is presumably to continue. The principal subjects of instruction should be four: aerodynamics in all its branches; aircraft structures; engines and systems of propul sion; aircraft design and construction; with some instruction in such Some Detailed Criticisms subsidiary subjects as production methods, instruments, navigation, There are so many undesirable features of the proposal that it is airport design and management, for which instruction existing impossible within our limits of space to deal with any but one or facilities elsewhere should be fully utilized. The School should co two of them. The scale of equipment proposed is inflated beyond all operate with the research institutions, borrowing lecturers from their reason. An 8 ft. by 4 ft. compressed-air tunnel, to cost £150,000 is, staffs and sending its students on visits. The School should be for instance, envisaged, for which we can see no justification what affiliated to one of the Universities and should exchange freely ever. I t is not as if it were suggested that the College should also be students and staff with the research departments and the post a research establishment, for the Committee specifically state: graduate schools of the Universities. "We think it wrong to allow the research work at the College to The School should have a Director or Principal, and teaching become a busine'ss undertaking for the sake of its own results, rather staff of 15. than for the incidental benefits it brings both the staff and students". The School should be provided with equipment adequate in scale The present system of grants to universities is presumably, therefore, but not necessarily of very large size. to be continued; but who will undertake the research work there we do not know, since the obvious intention is to lure the best students The Committee's Recommendations away by the glamour of the new College. The recommendations of the Committee are that an institution, Another point that needs mention is the problem of the obtaining to be called "The College of Aeronautics", should be formed to of the staff in the proposed numbers. provide instruction at post-graduate level to provide a high-grade A Case for Revision engineering, technical and scientific training in aeronautics to fit students for leadership in the aircraft industry, civil aviation, the No—we are sorry to strike a discordant note in the paean of Services, education and research; it should also provide shorter adulation that has been raised over this grandiloquent conception. courses for specialists in particular subjects, refresher courses and a There is a faintly vulgar, nouvean riche, air about the proposals which general "staff course" aimed at giving a broad knowledge of aero typifies a trend we have noticed lately in some aeronautical quarters nautics. There should be five main subjects: aerodynamics; aircraft —engendered we fear by a too-rapid rise to prosperity and a tem structures, engineering and design; aircraft equipment; engines and porarily inflated position in the general industrial world. It is here systems of propulsion; production, administration and maintenance. particularly exemplified by the glamorous, but quite fanciful, picture of the imagined college, which is pure "window-dressing" to dazzle The College should not be affiliated to any one university, but the unsuspecting public. should collaborate closely with the universities, technical colleges, research establishments and industry. The conditions of service of The Committee recommends that the "ultimate" responsibility the tutorial staff should be comparable with those of university for its College should rest with the MINISTER OF EDUCATION "but staffs. the control should not be too meticulous". With his knowledge of all the other calls that are to be made on the unfortunate taxpayer in The College should be planned on the basis of an entry of 50 students annually on a two-years' course and 200 students at any the interests of general education in the near future we cannot but one time on shorter courses—a total of 300 students at any one time. believe that any MINISTER OF EDUCATION will feel it his bounden I t should have a Principal and teaching staff of 70. duty to examine these proposals with the most "meticulous" care —and whittle them down to reasonable proportions in relation to The capital cost of building and equipping the College is esti the general educational perspective. mated at £2,610,000 and the annual expenditure at £380,000.
Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology – Emerald Publishing
Published: Dec 1, 1944
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