The Visiting Air Marshal
by Clive Russell
The following was related to me by my old boss, Bob Hounsfield, and took place at the Handley Page Low Speed Tunnel, sometime in the 1930's - before my time.
It seems that visits by VIPs to view and comment upon the latest research studies have always been the rule, and before the conflagration in 1939 there was a lot of Wind Tunnel effort put into developing such aircraft as the Hampden and Halifax. Hence the visit by Air Marshal XXX to see the goings-on at the Radlett tunnel during his visit to the works.
Bob had gone to the usual trouble to lay on a display and give the visitor an entertaining tour around with a description of the tunnel techniques and results, finishing up by inviting questions or comments.
The visitor was probably a very good Pilot - of the old seat-of-the pants type, but was somewhat out of his depth when it came to the latest scientific advances and said that it had all been most enlightening but one thing had baffled him.
"How could the model possibly get around the corners past those turning vanes?"
28 May 2002