8mm Film from 1960

Guided Weapons Wind Tunnel

This is a very short video reproduced from 8mm film taken by Colin Plane in the GWWT control room in the mid sixties.  There is no sound track.

click here to play

Thanks to Peter Fenton for passing on this information and to Joe Smith for the very comprehensive commentary below.

The file is a .wmv (about 1.1Mb) which should play OK in Windows Media Player and in Real Player.  If you have difficulties you could download the file by right-clicking the link and selecting save target as...

July 2011

The accompanying video clip of the Guided Weapons Wind Tunnel control room was produced by Colin Plane from an 8mm film shot by him in the mid to late 1960s.

John Parker (JVCP in the tunnel run records) is at the tunnel control console.  Joe Smith, who joined the GWWT staff after being made redundant from the 18ft LSWT after the cancellation of TSR2, is the High Speed Data Acquisition System (HADES) operator.

The demand to gather data in the GWWT from simultaneously pitching and rolling models called for data capture rates which were considerably higher than those usually achieved in the late 50s when the tunnel was being designed.  Data were gathered typically from 6 strain gauge balance components, tunnel stagnation pressure and temperature transducers and from the pitch and roll digital angle encoders.  In total, 10 11-bit binary words were recorded 80 times per second onto magnetic tape.  From the tape they were transferred at lower speed to punched cards.  The Hollerith card punch (with its Queen Ann legs) can be seen in the video. It was purchased second hand c1959 and retired eventually to the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry.

John Parker left the company for more lucrative work in Saudi Arabia.  Joe Smith remained with the tunnel until he took voluntary redundancy, from his role as Group Leader, in 1998 when ownership of the GWWT transferred from the Sowerby Research Centre to Warton Wind Tunnel Dept.

The members of staff at the time and their job descriptions were, if memory serves me right:

  • Colin Plane, Chief Wind Tunnel Engineer - went to Saudi for a few years afterwards
  • Kit Eaton, Project Engineer became Chief Aerodynamicist at Hunting Engineering
  • Peter Hall, Project Engineer moved to Projects at MAD
  • Patrick Hanson, Electronics Engineer went to Manchester Hospital, Dept of Electronics in Medicine
  • Geoff Haynes, Designer - rejoined MAD
  • John Parker, Tunnel Operations left to work in Saudi
  • Joe Smith, Technician (instrumentation) progressed to Group Leader
  • Mike Walton, Technician (mechanical) - emigrated to Canada where he became head of a design department for an aircraft company. Im sure his career history is already on the Windtunnelonians web site [yes, it is - CE]

Joe Smith   24 July 2011