RAE Work and its Publication



The Work at RAE Bedford and its Publication

Early research themes at Bedford included how to launch fast heavy jet aircraft from ships and then how to recover them again; control requirements for vertical take-off and landing (VTOL); the flying qualities of highly swept supersonic aircraft; and how to achieve safe landings in fog under automatic control. Later themes of research extended to helicopter aerodynamics and manoeuvrability; advanced flight control for combat jet aircraft and for VTOL aircraft; and flight management systems to improve operations, including screen-based cockpit displays.

Whatever the topic, results were communicated to government, industry and other beneficiaries such as ICAO via a range of reports and other documents. During the RAE era, the principal publications were RAE Technical Notes and Reports, often re-published by the Aeronautical Research Council (ARC) as Reports and Memoranda or as Current Papers until the ARC ceased to operate in 1980. Papers were also presented to conferences  (such as those organised by AGARD, AIAA and ICAS, see below) and published in journals, such as the Journal of the Royal Aeronautical Society. Such journals are often available in academic libraries but are not readily accessible on-line. Collections of RAE and ARC reports are available from several organisations, but no single organisation has a complete set. Organisations holding major collections include:

• Cranfield University, particularly its  collection of ARC reports at its “Aerade” site.

National Aerospace Library, part of the Royal Aeronautical Society.


AGARD, the Advisory Group for Aeronautical Research & Development, was sponsored by NATO and operated through a variety of ‘Panels’ such as the Flight Mechanics Panel. Many AGARD publications (such as Conference Proceedings and AGARDographs) can be found at its successor, the
NATO Science & Technology Organisation.

AIAA, the American Institute for Aeronautics & Astronautics, held many conferences and published papers in the Journal of Aeronautics.

ICAS, the International Congress for the Aeronautical Sciences, held a congress annually. Papers were published in the book series: Progress in Aerospace Sciences.

The book Wings Over Thurleigh includes an outline of many of the work programmes.




This page last updated - 07/06/2023

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