Newsletter 18
Autumn 2007
Updated on 5Nov2007
Association Ties
Book Reviews
Burmese Sea Fury Incidents
Committee News
EDO To Project Office Part 2
F-35 Lightning II News
Flight Testing Early Jets
Harrier News
Hawk News
Joint Force Harrier Operations
Neville Duke Appreciation
RAF Harrier Story
RAF Museum Visit

Published by the Hawker Association
for the Members.
Copyright 2007. All rights reserved Hawker Association
Ken Causer continues to recount the story of  his early career with Hawkers...
    Initially there was no drawing work for me to do in the Project Office so I was set to learn the current method for estimating the component drag properties of an aircraft. This I did under the friendly guidance of Ron Williams who set me the task of calculating the expected climb performance of his own pet project; Project X. This was in the early days of space exploration which was being vigorously conducted by the USA and Russia at great expense using large disposable rocket devices. In our comparatively impoverished state the UK was totally left out of the race, but Ron thought that a much cheaper method could be devised utilising a reusable first stage launcher. His idea was to use four DH Gyron Junior jet engines mounted around the sides of a large fuel tank supporting the final, much lighter, stage(s) of a rocket propelled pod. Upon separation the now empty first stage would parachute safely to earth to be reused.
From EDO To Project Office Part 2

toptoptop top top
    It must have been at this time that Jim Berryman had to return to the drawing office and I was drafted in to fill his position helping John Fozard produce detailed drawings for a one sixth scale wind tunnel model of the P.1121. This was a very interesting job which led, amongst other things, to my association with George Woods who ran the Lofting Department, at that time situated across the river at Shellmex's Lensbury Club premises. Then began a flurry of interest in producing a comprehensive report on the expected stability and control properties of the huge new all-weather, all-purpose supersonic P.1121 fighter, so now I was given the job of assisting our stability and control man, Robin Balmer.
    I soon discovered that the Project Office appeared to be to be very relaxed if work was not pressingly urgent, to the extent that we were allowed, and probably expected, to spend some time reading technical magazines and other documents not necessarily directly related to our current job, and this led, later on, to an unexpected development.
    When we had completed the P.1121 stability and control work I was given the very interesting job of using a new analogue computer, made by Avro, to examine stability and control problems relating to hovering flight and Ralph Hooper's P.1127 VTOL project. The Avro computer, superficially in the shape of an upright piano, had been set up in the Project Office. I don't remember there being any keys but beneath where they would have been was a recorder with two moving 'pens' to trace the dynamic responses of a body to applied forces. The machine also had a green cathode ray tube, rather like an early TV, which was positioned at the centre of the upright part of the 'piano'. The screen displayed two spots of light which tracked steadily from left to right, rising and falling in unison with the recorder pens and leaving behind a momentary trace. With the aid of these it soon became apparent that in hovering flight the P.1127 was catastrophically unstable. Two knobs were provided for the 'pilot's' elevator and rudder control inputs and in an attempt to gain some control over the response to these I fastened a strip of cardboard to the knobs in the hope that it would be possible to counteract manually the divergent paths of the spots of light. In spite of much practice it was still not possible.
    This was when, having tired of attempting to stabilise the hover, I took the opportunity to examine the Bristol Engines brochure covering their new jet engine, the BE 53. In a cut-away drawing of the engine could be seen a twin spool system and two pairs of exhaust nozzles for the separate cold and hot gas flows. I had not long before been told that this new engine had been based on an older 'normal' jet engine with a new low pressure compressor in front, and as I had just discovered that the instability of the P.1127 was directly the result of the engine's gyroscopic properties, the thought occurred to me that, perhaps, if Bristols had not begun to make the engine, it would be possible to 'opposite-hand' the new low pressure front end. I asked Robin if he knew whether Bristols had begun to 'cut metal' on the new engine and when I explained the reason behind my question he went straight to Bob Marsh, Head of the Project Office, who immediately wrote to Bristols. In about a week's time the answer came back that it was indeed possible and that it would reduce the gyro couple to one quarter of its original level.
    Very soon after this I left Hawkers and went to work for De Havillands in Canada where I stayed for four years working mainly on performance flight test analysis, evaluation and subsequent presentation in flight operating manuals. It was only after I returned to England and Hawkers that I discovered that the first tethered flight of the P.1127 had been made. In the Project Office, now situated in the refurbished factory at Ham, there was a small profile model of the P.1127, mounted on gimbals and carrying two flywheels mounted roughly where the engine would be on the real aircraft and these were driven by two electric motors that could be selected to run in the same or opposite sense. The model had been used, I was told, in several presentations to the Air Ministry and others in which the model's stability or lack of it could be demonstrated by just touching the model's wing tip. Whether my remarks to Robin four years earlier had played a part in developments I have no idea and am now sure I shall never know.

    Editor's Note. In Newsletter No.6 Roy Whitehead gave more details of the origin of the P.1127 gyroscopic precession model mentioned by Ken.