Zuckerman Archive: Aeronautical Research Council RAF Aircraft Research Committee

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 1187 SZ/AeRC
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      8 boxes; 3 files; 4.5 linear feet

Scope and Content

Solly Zuckerman was invited to become an independent member of the Committee in February 1947. The Committee met monthly under the chairmanship, initially, of Professor P.M.S. Blackett and then of Dr A. A. Hall.

The correspondence is slight and arranged chronologically. Most of the correspondence is with J.L. Nayler, the Committee's Secretary, and with Air Vice Marshal Claude Pelly of the Air Ministry. The correspondence with Mr Nayler relates chiefly to administrative matters. With Claude Pelly, Zuckerman discussed magnesium production (in relation to his role as chairman of the Committee on Industrial Productivity's Imports Substitution Panel), and bird navigation and the potential relevance of the research work of G.V.T. Matthews of Cambridge University to the solution of aircraft navigation problems.

Recurrent subjects in the papers (File SZ/AeRC/3) are: the development of aids to navigation and bombing accuracy, particularly radar systems; emergency escape from aircraft and the physiological aspects of the use of ejector equipment; improving landing gear on aircraft and automatic landing systems; the range of physiological problems associated with the use of pressurized cabins including rapid decompression; provision of airfield facilities in forward areas including the concepts of flying and waterborne runways; auto-pilot systems; the effects of noise and vibration, cold, high-altitude flying, and other operational conditions on air-crew performance; and guided weapons development.

Discussion of the specification for new or replacement aircraft included: a long-range supersonic bomber; transport and fighter aircraft; a high-altitude long range reconnaissance aircraft; and a ground attack aircraft. Other topics touched upon include: the ballistics of bombs; in-flight re-fuelling; variable-geometry aircraft; experimental knob shapes; and the disinsectisation of aircraft. Among the later papers are reports on the performance of various aircraft and their systems under operational conditions in Korea.

Administrative / Biographical History

The RAF Aircraft Research Committee of the Aeronautical Research Council was established in January 1947 To study the basic problems of RAF aircraft and their operation and to advise the Council on research needed to solve these problems [and] to report to the Council.


  • SZ/AeRC/1 Agenda and Minutes, 1947-1953 [in three sub-files]
  • SZ/AeRC/2 Correspondence, 1947-1953
  • SZ/AeRC/3 Documents RAFARC 1-345, 1942-1953

Access Information

Please refer to the fonds-level description for GB 1187 SZ.



Other Finding Aids

In addition to the aids described at fonds level, a manuscript handlist of the contents of the sub-files and a manuscript calendar of the correspondence are available for consultation in the Archives Department.

Conditions Governing Use

Please refer to the fonds-level description for GB 1187 SZ.