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May, 1944 AIRCRAFT ENGINEERIN G 123 always economically possible to scrap existing plant or equipment Aircraft Engineering for the sake of producing an improved product, however super ficially beneficial. Indeed, the British Government have not in the Th e Monthly Scientific and Technical past been helpful in their financial provisions in regard to obsoles cence and replacement. The dawn of a new era in this respect may be Organ of the Aeronautical Engineering starting in certain provisions introduced into the new Finance Act Profession by SIR JOHN ANDERSON; albeit that we are inclined to think that Editor:Lieut.-Col. W. Lochwood Marsh, O.B.E., F.R.Ae.S.,M.S.A.E.,F.I.Ae., S. these will prove of greater direct benefit to the general engineering than to the aircraft industry, though the latter will no doubt derive, Vol. XVI. No . 183 May, 194' indirect advantage. RESEARCH AND THE INDUSTRY Reasons For Delay H E importance of research to post-war industry is very much So far as the aeroplane is concerned there have been many in ventions and developments which have been produced before their a topic of the moment, and all the interested parties—from the educationalist to the industrialist—are marshalling their ideas time. In many instances, it has not been, as has been stated, a lack and expressing their views in innumerable speeches and articles. of imagination or a state of inertia in the minds of designers which The subject has many facets, ranging from the perennially con has postponed the adoption of new devices. They have had t o await troversial topic of the proper age a t which specialization in educa some general improvement in performance to raise a demand for them sufficient, frequently and indeed usually, to outweigh the tion should start to wide questions of organization and the relative responsibilities of Government, research associations and individual increase in weight involved. Examples that occur to the mind are firms. Few people in Great Britain can be bette r qualified by training such things as flaps, variable-pitch airscrews and retractable under and experience to make their voices heard than DR . A. P . FLEMING. carriages which were, so to speak, ready and waiting to be born so When, therefore, we learnt that he was delivering an address on the soon as the need arose. The fact that to the impatient—or the exceptionally far-seeing—they should have made their appearance education of research workers and their place in industry as one of a series of talks on science and industry before the Manchester a few years before they did was due to the inevitable lag in time Chamber of Commerce, we hastened to obtain a copy. In the between the arising of the requirement and the recognition of its belief that it should receive a wider circulation than that covered arrival. by the dispersal of the Chamber's Journal we print it in full in this issue. Fruit s of Experience We have also received from AERO RESEARCH LTD. its Bulletin Importanc e to Aviation No. 17 in which in nostalgic mood DR . DE BRUYNE reflects on the I t will hardly be disputed that the aircraft industry is more lessons and experiences of the ten years that have just passed since dependent on research, both pure and applied, than perhaps any he founded his firm. He, too, is concerned with the problem of other. This is true not only in respect of such directly applicable research and industry; in a peculiar way since he has reluctantly matters as aerodynamics but in a host of ancillary subjects ranging been forced by circumstances off the peak of the research worker over the whole field of chemistry and physics. There is indeed no into the busy valley of the industrialist. He, as we have so often branch of scientific knowledge which does not to a greater or less done, makes a plea for the small research unit and its importance as extent impinge upon the realm of aviation. I t behoves the industry, a training ground. He appears not to be greatly impressed with the therefore, to take an active, interest in this problem and to en utility of the trade research association; in which we are not certain deavour to organize the future on lines that will be in its own best that we agree with him. We have long felt it extremely unwise of the interests. For this reason, we propose to call attention here to a aircraft industry not to have its own research association—in number of pronouncements that have.recently been made on the which it is rapidly becoming alone among the leading industries of subject. the country. We well remember at a conference held in 1935, which Mr. Morrison Speaks will be in the recollection of many of our British readers, it being urged, almost entreated, by a prominent official speaker to form A few weeks ago there was a debate in the House of Commons such a body; but it would have none of it. It is not in our opinion which did not perhaps take us very far, though it revealed at any consistent to leave the Government to carry the research baby rate a growing interest—which is a healthy sign. It has been fol and at the same time to complain of the dead hand of Govern lowed by the delivery at Cambridge of the Hobhouse Memorial ment control. So long as the Government pays the piper it seems to u s Trust Lecture by the HOME SECRETARY, MR. HERBERT MORRISON that it is entitled—and, indeed, it is it s duty—t o call th e tune. In-any (read in his absence by aviation's old friend, D. R. PYE). MR . case, one would have thought there was plenty of room for an MORRISON'S public utterances are always suspect, because in them applied scientific research centre to co-operate with Government he is ap t t o be busily engaged in sharpening the political axe on th e pure science research establishments, on the one hand, and individual grindstone of opportunism and on this occasion he to some extent firms' ad hoc experimental units on th e other. ran true to form'in hinting that the Government should step in in some undisclosed way to ensure that firms were not unduly slow in putting to practical use the results of new scientific discoveries or developments. It,is, of course, very easy to lay charges of the Turnin g Back the Pages buying up of patents for the purpose of suppressing them because We arc fully conscious that these constitute but random thoughts their adoption would interfere with the policy of vested interests. in the form of stray jottings on research and its connexion with the For ourselves, we cannot say that we have ever had produced to us industry, but we trus t that among them may be found some crumbs incontrovertible proof of such an instance and we remain somewhat of inspiration to others. eceptical as to the widespread existence of a practice of this charac There is an increasing tendency in present times to assume that ter. On th e other hand, we have rarely met an inventor who was not all ideas are new and that no one has ever before visualized, or convinced that his own particular idea was as sound as i t was epoch- contemplated, our troubles and possible solutions for them. This making and barred from recognition only by the machinations of attitude is in fact by no means justifiable. After all, the Department come unscrupulous Government official or industrial magnate. of Scientific and Industrial Research was formed during the last war in similar circumstances to those obtaining- now with results A Moot Point that have been of incalculable benefit to all industries in their peaceful avocations. Witness, too, the conference to which we have There is often in these things—as, to do him justice, MR . MORRISON already referred, the reports of which will bear re-reading. ointed out—a balance of advantages to be considered and it is no t
Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 1, 1944
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