Newsletter 11
Winter 2005
Updated on 18Nov2005
Published by the Hawker Association
for the Members.
Contents © Hawker Association

Agenda for Aerospace
Duxford Visit
Harrier First Delivery
Hawker People News
Heritage Memorial Project
HMS Invincible Retires
Last Pegasus
Programme 2005-6
Sopwith Stories
Tangmere Hawker Weekend
Unified Flight Control
On 12th October Ralph Denning came up from Bristol, with Gordon Lewis, to talk to the Association about wartime German aeronautical research and development and its effects on post-war aviation.

Ralph joined Bristol Engines in 1949 and stayed with them for 39 years, 20 years of which he spent as Chief Engineer Future Projects, having a major influence on powerplants for many types including Harrier and Concorde. Before joining Bristols he was with the Ministry of Aircraft Production (MAP) and during 1945-1947 was in Germany with the UK team assessing German wartime R&D.

The team was amazed by what they found; extensive wind tunnel facilities for low and high Mach number work, innovative aircraft designs and engine types, air-to-surface, surface-to-air, air-to-air and intercontinental missile projects. Clearly the end of the war had come just in time before these new aircraft and weapons could be brought to the operational stage. The allies had put their efforts into fully developing what were really obsolescent types rather than looking to the future, so, had the war dragged on, they were in danger of being seriously outclassed.

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In Germany academic institutes had always had a powerful influence on design and major research establishments staffed by expert scientists had been set up throughout the country. For example, the DVL in Berlin had a 9 ft wind tunnel, the AVA at Gottingen 2 tunnels, the LFA at Volkenrode 6 tunnels, ballistic tunnels and a high altitude engine testing facility, the LFM at Munich a 9 sq ft tunnel, at St Ozal in the Italian Alps a sonic 26 ft tunnel was under construction and at Kochel in Bavaria 3 missile research tunnels for Mach 3.3, 4.4 and 10 were operational!

Ralph was mainly concerned with the Herman Goering Aeronautical Research Institute, LFA, at Volkenrode, near Brunswick, which was overrun by the US 9th Army in April 1945 and by July the MAP's 'Operation Surgeon', led by Roy Fedden, was under way. The facilities were hidden in 1,100 acres of woods with no visible roads, railways or power lines so, although recce. photographs had been taken, its importance was not recognised.

Under Prof. Herman Blank the LFA had three divisions: 'A' for aerodynamics and structures, 'M' for engines and rockets, 'W' for weapons and ballistics. Working in 'A' was Dr A Busemann who at the 1935 Volta Congress had, unnoticed, given his paper on the significance of wing sweep. Boeing's Chief Aerodynamicist, George Schairer, visited the LFA in May and reported Buseman's work on sweepback, which led to the B-47. The NACA also quickly responded to this information with dropped body tests on swept wings demonstrating 30% drag reduction at Mach 1. However, the UK was slow to react.

The 'A' division had six advanced wind tunnels. A1 was a 2.5m low speed tunnel. Under test was an Arado swept crescent wing with underwing podded engines. This layout was also reported by Schairer and the wing planform was adopted by Handley Page. A2 was a 2.8m high speed (.82-.90M) closed return tunnel that could be run open for engine testing. The huge A3 8m low speed return tunnel consumed 15,000 hp. The A6 and A7 pair of high speed intermittent suck- and blow-down tunnels with a 1,000 cu m reservoir operated at .94M and Mach 2 to 4 respectively. The A9a open working section closed circuit .93M tunnel could also be used open return for jet engine and ramjet testing. The A9b closed working section 1.6M tunnel used two 4,500 kw motors which were taken to RAE Bedford for their 3 ft supersonic tunnel.

The LFA 'M' Institute was an engine development and test facility including an altitude testing chamber and combustion test rigs in the woods. Under test were the BMW 003 and Jumo 004 axial flow jet engines. The latter, of which prototype construction started in 1939, powered the Me262 twin jet fighter and the Ar234 high altitude reconnaissance bomber. Also in evidence was a gas turbine powered Panther tank.

The 'W' Weapons Institute was housed in dummy farm buildings with underground ballistics tunnels, including the 400m W1, and rocket research facilities. Nineteen guided missile projects were initiated in Germany, of which four became operational: the Ruhrstal SO 1400 radio controlled 'smart' bomb, the Henschel Hs 293 rocket propelled air-surface missile, the V-1 pulse jet propelled flying bomb, and the V-2 rocket propelled ballistic missile. There were 8 air-air weapons of which 2 were nearly operational, and the A9/A10 two stage ICBM project, a winged V-2 with a booster, to attack the USA. The Enzian SAM, based on the Me163 rocket fighter was in production but was stopped by allied bombing.

There were several operational jet aircraft types, the most successful being the Me 262 which originated from a 1938 (!) requirement, flew in 1942 and, after a year's delay for work on a fighter-bomber version, was in service in 1944 (1,433 built). The specification for the wooden Heinkel He 162 was issued in June 1944, the prototype flew in December and the first of 100 production aircraft was delivered in March 1945. The twin jet Arado Ar 234 was operational in 1944 and the four jet Junkers Ju 287 bomber was flying as a prototype in 1944. This aircraft had forward swept wings and was designed using the area rule principle.

 Ralph showed a slide outlining the scope of German work on swept wings with 52 jet projects illustrated, several of which had reached the prototype stage with a few in production. Layouts included tailed and tail-less swept back, swept forward, delta, 'W', slewed, twin boom, with podded and buried engines. Particularly significant was the Jumo 004 powered Messerschmitt P.1101 with ground adjustable variable sweep wings and a 'pod and boom' fuselage. The incomplete prototype was taken to the USA where the Bell X-5 research aircraft was closely based on the Messerschmitt design but incorporated in-flight variable sweep. The 'pod and boom' layout was also adopted in the swept wing SAAB J-29 and the Yak-15 whilst German swept wing technology was capitalised on by North American in their F-86 Sabre and by Mikoyan in the MiG-15.

After the war several German scientists worked at RAE Farnborough including Drs Busemann and Kucheman, the latter developing wing planforms for Concorde utilising the work of the German delta pioneer, Dr Lippisch. Lippisch's work also influenced the design of the Vulcan.

In conclusion Ralph listed the technologies taken to a high level by Germany during the war: high speed aerodynamics, gas dynamics, rocket propulsion, axial flow gas turbines, ramjets, pulse jets and guided weapons.
 Applications included swept and delta winged jet aircraft, cruise missiles, strategic rockets, guided bombs, air-to-surface and air-to-air guided missiles.  

After question time Ralph Hooper gave the vote of thanks quoting Sydney Camm, on seeing the design of the swept wing Messerschmitt P.1101, as saying "Did you ever see anything so bloody useless?" His first swept wing aircraft, the P.1052, did not fly until November 1948 although Hawkers' first swept wing project, the P.1047, was drawn by Vivian Stanbury in 1945.