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This is the first of three programmes which trace the history of decision-making about the Concorde supersonic aircraft from its inception in the late 1950s to the present day. This programme cover...s the story up until the signing of the agreement with the French in 1962, concentrating on the work done at Farnborough, the battle between Aviation and Treasury over the project, and the search for foreign partners. One of the purposes of the programme is to demonstrate the background assumptions about such an enterprise in high technology on the part of the people responsible for initiating Concorde. Some film library material from 1964 is used, and many of the key individuals interviewed today stand by their early enthusiasm.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: D203, Decision making in Britain
Item code: D203; 01; 1976
First transmission date: 10-12-1976
Published: 1976
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:24:00
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Producer: Susan Boyd-Bowman
Contributor: Christopher Pollitt
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Concorde; Supersonic aircraft
Footage description: The programme opens with shots of Concorde and scenes from a documentary, 'Supersonic', made in 1964 by the BBC. These scenes show model planes being tested in a wind-tunnel. Archibald Russell, technical director of B.A.C. explains the economic incentives attached to aircraft design and production. Design of a supersonic aircraft offered an opportunity for Britain to capture some of the market from the United States. George Edwards of B.A.C. argues that the speed of the new plane would provide its justification. Views of Farnborough taken from the 'Supersonic' documentary. Morien Morgan, chairman of the Supersonic Transport Aircraft Committee talks about the work of the group and of how enthusiasm for the idea of the plane developed. Shots from 'Supersonic' showing draughtsmen at work and models being tested in a wind-tunnel. Morien Morgan argues that only rough estimates of cost were published initially. Because of financial problems it was decided to share in the venture with another country. Denis Haviland, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Aviation 1959-64, states that cooperation with the United States was the preferred choice Peter Thorneycroft, Minister of Aviation 196O-62, explains why he first approached the Americans Najeeb Halaby, head of the Federal Aviation Authority, describes the progress of the British delegation and the problems they encountered with government and private industry. Peter Thorneycroft explains why the French were eventually approached. Shots from 'Supersonic' of the Caravelle aircraft and the Sud Aviation works. George Hereil, President of Sud Aviation, describes his scheme for an international supersonic consortium and the difficulties he ran into. Shots of a model, Super-Caravelle, shown at Farnborough in 1961. Archibald Russell discusses the significance of the decision to give the French a copy of the STAC report. Peter Thorneycroft tries to justify this decision, as in the long term it saved much time. Geoffrey Rippon, former junior Minister of Aviation, denies that he gave the report to the French. He then discusses the difficulties the project face because of opposition from the Treasury. Denis Haviland and Peter Thorneycroft describe the problems they experienced in getting the assistance of other government departments. Julian Amery, Minister of Aviation 1962-64, discusses the connection between Anglo-French cooperation on Concorde and negotiations to enter the EEC. Geoffrey Rippon argues that he thought the project worthwhile from every point of view, not merely as prestigious exercise. Denis Haviland describes the importance of the position of the Minister in furthering the project. Scenes from 'Supersonic' of workers in the Sud Aviation factories. Archibald Russell describes some of the problems raised by international cooperation and design. Shots of Julian Amery signing the agreement to proceed on the venture with his French counterpart. Geoffrey Rippon explains why he favoured collaboration with France and how special clauses were written into the contract to prevent either side from pulling out. Julian Amery discusses the contract. Shots of De Gaulle making a speech vetoing British entry into the EEC. Peter Thorneycroft argues that if correct estimates of cost had been submitted the project would never have been approved.
Master spool number: 6HT/72414
Production number: 00525_2332
Videofinder number: 3393
Available to public: no