No Sir Stanley Hooker: Aircraft development and ramifications

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by gjs238, Jul 7, 2012.

  1. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    Without Sir Stanley Hooker, how might have aircraft development differed from actual events?
     
  2. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    However I doubt the change would be great. Britain had more then one engineer able to design supercharger systems.
     
  3. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    He was the right man,in the right place at the right time. We'll never know what would have happened had he not been there but I too suspect that someone else or even several different people would have covered the work that he did,both at Rolls Royce and Bristol.

    This in no way detracts from his brilliant and important contributions to the development of aero engines in this country.

    Cheers
    Steve
     
  4. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    Stanley Hooker was quite the saviour; the supercharger programme at RR might have gotten done by someone else, but neither the RR Dart, Avon nor the RB211 would have gone into production if it wasn't for him. He made those engines the successes they became; in their initial states, all of them failing to deliver anywhere near the power outputs required. With the Avon in particular, the early Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire was a far superior engine and did not suffer from the compressor surge issues the Avon suffered. In the later variants the compressor design of the Sapphire was mated to the hot section of the Avon - then it became a great. Both the Dart and RB211 leaked like sieves and it was down to Hooker to tweak them to perform the way they should have.

    No one is truly irreplaceable, but some connot be done without!
     
  5. Edgar Brooks

    Edgar Brooks Active Member

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    Supermarine coped without Mitchell.
     
  6. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    #6 nuuumannn, Jul 9, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2012
    That's because they had Smith et al...
     
  7. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Which is the point. There will be others to step into the breach.

    Steve
     
  8. Gixxerman

    Gixxerman Member

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    This is one of the most fascinating aspects of technical development, I find.
    The physics is so universal that almost every combatant had a firm grasp on most if not all the leading edge technologies.
    From jets to radar there are few complete unknowns and 'secrets', usually it turns out to be a matter of material physical resources the political historic setting of priorities.
     
  9. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    #9 nuuumannn, Jul 9, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2012
    Humour me. Yes, I'm aware of that. My point was that with those post war engines at any rate he made a big difference between their success and their failure. With the RB.211 he had to be dragged out of retirement to solve its problems, which placed him high on the indespensible list. Yes, others might have been able to step in and would have been able to solve the issues that Rolls had with its engines - albeit over a longer period of time, thus missing deadlines and vital production orders; remember the RB.211 bankrupted RR, so he made a huge difference having been there. That's really my point. Yes indeed someone else would have tweaked the superchargers a little; Rolls also had the smarty Dr A.A. Griffith working in solitary on gas turbine development during the war, but he was a theorist rather than an engineer, but whether the RR engines would have been quite as brilliant as they were is largely down to Hooker and his team.

    The original question was "Without Sir Stanley Hooker, how might have aircraft development differed from actual events?", in RR case, with some difference, largely because Rolls engines might not have been as good as they were with him at the helm of their engine development (just note that might not have been as good), just as the Spitfire evolution would have gone down a different path had Mitchell lived.
     
  10. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    Interestingly, several different individuals can also come up with the same ideas as each other at the same time on opposite sides of the world to each other. Whittle and Pabst von Ohain is an example (although not really on oposite sides of the world, but you get my drift). I read once that in technology there is no such thing as a revolution, only evolution; every new concept borrows from past experience and progress.
     
  11. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    I believe Hooker was also a "theorist" rather than an engineer. Hookers "genius" was that he was enough of a theorist that he could some times "see" that "theory" and "practice" were so far apart that something was radically wrong and it could very well be the theory. That was his initial claim to fame. As an aerodynamisist he realized that some of the formulas being used to design superchargers were wrong.
    Given enough time I am sure some other people would have caught on but Hooker was able to save an awful lot of time and trouble by catching that. Please remember that nobody was really pushing supercharger design limits in the mid 30s. 87 octane fuel will only support a certain amount of boost and even a pretty poor supercharger can hit the limit of 87 octane pretty quick.
     
  12. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    I guess it depends on your definition of engineer. By his experience with superchargers and jet engines and how they function he can most certainly be called an engineer - although by his own definition he was "not much of an engineer...". To be specific he was a mathematician by qualification, later in his career he became chief engineer of the RR factory at Barnoldswick, which developed the Whittle W.2 as the Welland. He left Rolls after the failure of the Avon to do what it should have, but returned to Rolls to work on the RB.211.
     
  13. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Yep,and then they can argue about it like Newton and Leibniz or get on with it like Edison and Swan.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  14. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    ...and years later, thanks to the internet, so can we!!! :D
     
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