Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Secret Years - Flight Testing at Boscombe Down 1939-1945


The achievements over many decades of the Royal Air Force, the Fleet Air Arm and the Army Air Corps have been due not least to the capabilities of the aircraft flown in many roles, in all parts of the world, in peace and in war. That the aircraft, some outstanding, others less successful, were in a lit state for their intended use by the Services was largely a result of the searching tests and evaluation of their capabilities by the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment to which all land and carrier-borne aircraft were sent. The Establishment, moving to Boscombe Down at the outbreak of war in September 1939, experienced the most intense and active six years of its existence, growing to a total of over 2,400 servicemen, service women and civilians, with, frequently, over 140 aeroplanes. This book tells the story of those stirring times,and of the contribution made to the war effort of this country. Looking back over half a century, the author gives us a clear insight into events at Boscombe Down in the period 1939-1945. While contrasting the scale and pace of wartime activities with those of today. I am nevertheless struck by some of the similarities. Aircraft testing for the British armed forces continues there with a capable and enthusiastic team of scientific, technical, administrative and flying people, while today's air staffs continue to experience frustrations when trials seem to take an undue time�just as our predecessors did in wartime days.