Trenchard Lecture: The Air Ministry and the Advent of All-Metal Aircraft at the Royal Aeronautical Society


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Royal Air Force Museum, London

Grahame Park Way Colindale
London
Greater London
NW9 5LL
England

19 November 2020 Dr Matthew Powell will discuss 'Forging the Future: The Air Ministry and the Advent of All-Metal Aircraft'. Matthew will explore the development of the Air Ministry’s policy surrounding the ordering and implementation of all-metal aircraft in the late 1920s. This lecture will be held at the Royal Aeronautical Society at 6.00pm on 8 October 2020. Tea and Coffee will be available beforehand. Talk Outline The Air Ministry have been largely criticised for continuing the procure aircraft constructed of wood, string and canvas in the early to mid-1930s when civil and competition aircraft were being constructed from metal. The Air Ministry have been described as backwards in terms of its attitude towards new technologies and their implementation. This was one of a series of technological developments that occurred during the inter-war period and revolutionised the construction of aircraft. It was, however, the most important in terms of the Air Ministry’s relationship with the industry. This lecture will explore the development of the Air Ministry’s policy surrounding the ordering and implementation of all-metal aircraft in the late 1920s. It will demonstrate that current historical thinking on this topic is largely superficial in nature and does not take into account the difficulty of implementing new technological developments in a private industry that could not be compelled to do as the Air Ministry wished. The industry required incentives to change their production methods and re-train their labour force to work with the new materials. Historians have largely ignored or discounted the lead times involved in designing new aircraft and the difficulties of transferring drawing board ideas and concepts into easily produced aircraft. Aircraft were expected to remain in active service for five years after their introduction into the Royal Air Force. This meant that the Air Ministry were required to think of their requirements in aircraft for the next generation in five years’ time as well as begin considering what their requirements would be for the aircraft of ten years. A reliance on unproven technologies could, if they did not meet expectations, lead to a capability gap and presenting a potential risk to British security. Location The lecture will be held at the Royal Aeronautical Society on Thursday 8 October 2020. Please note this lecture will begin at 6pm (with Tea and Coffee provided from 5.30pm). TICKETS This lecture is free of charge however we do ask that you pre-book a free ticket as seats are limited.

For more information on this event: https://royalairforcemuseum.digitickets.co.uk/category/23716

Further information

Upcoming event dates:

  • Thursday 19th November 2020 17:45 - 21:00

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