Newsletter 3
Summer 2003

Updated on 01Jul2003



Bad Chair Days
Dam Busters
Great Place to Work
High Society
Hooker’s Engines
Kingston’s Fighters
Membership List
Readers Writer
Ski Jump
Tangmere Visit

Home Home


Ralph Hooper, busy man, was invited to give the 2003 Sir Stanley Hooker Memorial Address to the Bristol Branch of the Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust on March 24th. An audience of some 200, including the President and many illustrious names from R-R, heard Ralph's talk, "Hooker's Engines in Hawkers' Aeroplanes". Sir Stanley, or 'SGH' as he was known at R-R where it was the custom to refer to people by their initials, started at R-R, moved to Bristol Engines and after the R-R/Bristol amalgamation returned to Derby. He therefore influenced and led both Derby and Bristol engine developments.

Ralph covered all the Hawker aircraft with engines which SGH had a hand in or which he inherited. The Hurricane Mk II with the Merlin XX was equipped with an SGH designed supercharger but the first Hawker type to be powered by an SGH engine was the P.1040, which became the Sea Hawk, with his Nene. The swept wing developments, the P.1052 and P.1081, also flew with the Nene although the latter should have had the more powerful Tay.

The Hunter was, of course, powered by the Avon; not an SGH design but one with which he was deeply involved during development. The Conway was considered for the P.1121 Mach 2 fighter but the Olympus was preferred and in any case the aircraft was never completed.

The most important part of the talk covered the origins of the Pegasus in the P.1127 at the time when SGH had moved to Bristol. Ralph was involved from the start as Camm's project designer, attending meetings together with Camm, with SGH and his team and with the American Mutual Weapons Defence Programme (MWDP) team in Paris who were sponsoring the BE 53. Ralph's opposite number at Bristol was Gordon Lewis, SGH's project designer, who attended the lecture together with John Dale, the Pegasus development engineer.

Ralph's supersonic development of the P.1127, the P.1150, led to the P.1154 which, powered by SGH's 33,000 lb thrust BS 100, won the NATO NBMR 3 competition. However, it was the subsonic P.1127 (RAF) Harrier with the production Pegasus 6, 10 and 11 that was ordered for the RAF. Kingston's advanced supersonic V/STOL studies in the '70s, culminated in the P.1216 using the RB 422 of 44,000 lb thrust. However it was BAe policy that "supersonic V/STOL was made to mark time to give EAP/EFA a clear run".

Ralph closed by noting that SGH's people had increased the thrust of the Pegasus by over 2 1/2 times compared to the engine that John Dale first ran in 1959. The lecture, which was enthusiastically received, had been enlivened with many personal reminiscences, observations and comments on the people involved in this story of British engineering achievement.

Ralph Hooper