Graham Weller, who was privileged to be part of the design team that
came up with the final configuration for the Hawk remembers….
I joined the Kingston design team on 4 September
1972 and after a
foreshortened graduate apprenticeship of six months, settled into what
was then called ‘Propulsion Integration’ spending my first few weeks
working on the P.1182’s engine intake design with Kit Milford. I also
worked with Jim Calkin on performance prediction and seemed to spend
weeks if not months turning computer output into performance graphs.
After a visit to the USA, I returned with one of the
calculators to appear in Airframe Engineering (a $10 Commodore which
worked a treat), later replaced with an HP25 which I still have -
somewhere. I was involved in low- and high-speed wind-tunnel testing of
the intake configurations at ARA Bedford which was fascinating.
The first take-off 40 years ago was one of the most
in a career that later saw me based in Washington and sending the telex
back to Kingston that we had been selected for the VTXTS programme.
Having also worked on the AV-8B and watched the first flights of the
YAV-8Bs, it is a source of regret at not being around when the first
T-45 took to the air.
However, the Kingston team was a world beater in
every sense, and working with the two Gordons was a great privilege.
The first Hawk mock-up fuselage was built at Kingston, from which we
went straight to the first aircraft. If I recall correctly the move to
metric was a major step for everyone, complete with a different drawing
number format, etc.. Exciting times!
By the way, I recently found a Hawker Aircraft Ltd.
letter to my grandmother dated 28 Nov 1944 confirming her bonus of
4/11d - she worked on Hurricane production at Langley it seems.