On June 9th Karl Smith gave an illustrated Zoom talk to the
which was his personal view of the development of aviation. In a period
spanning over 62 years Karl worked in a number of posts for several
firms in the aircraft industry. Before that his family had been
involved in aviation from its very earliest years so between them in an
uninterrupted period up to 2013 they covered just a few years short of
a century in aviation. Karl was born in Carshalton, brought up and
educated in Croydon where he later learned to fly. He worked for 2½
years in the Installations Department of HAL Kingston.
His talk began with the myth, legend and history of aviation before summarising how in the next 100 years the early weird and wonderful devices evolved into practical flying machines. Karl’s informative talk covered the topics of fuel
consumption, noise and other impacts on the environment. He
emphasised the great significance of Sir George Cayley’s work in
defining the basic layout of the modern aeroplane: monoplane with
adjustable fin and tailplane and a fuselage for the pilot. In 1852 his
coachman was persuaded to fly in a glider to this design and apparently
made one flight but refused to try again. The soundness of design was
confirmed in 1973 when Derek Piggott successfully flew a full scale
reproduction, a video of which was shown by Karl.
For the private Members’ link to the YouTube recording of this talk please contact Richard Cannon.