Touchdown Safely! is a ‘Boffin’s Tale’ of All-weather Approach and Landing Research and Flight Trials at RAE Bedford 1966-1986, by R Bruce Lumsden, 2018.
Bruce Lumsden started work as a research scientist at the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE) Bedford in 1966. He has written this memoir (in the author’s words, “very much a personal tale”) about a number of major experimental programmes on which he worked, and about some of his personal recollections of life at RAE Bedford. His work focussed on the challenges of landing aircraft safely in all weather conditions. The book is part historical, part technical and part autobiographical. The RAE was formed at Farnborough in 1918 and celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2018. This book describes some of the contributions that RAE Bedford gave to aviation.
With 19 chapters, and more than 460 pages, the book begins with the author’s early years at the Blind Landing Experimental Unit (the world-famous “BLEU”), includes a chapter on “RAE Bedford – Origins and its Aircraft”, then covers other subjects as varied as direct-lift control, two-segment approaches, Doppler Microwave Landing System (DMLS), pilot aids and low visibility, the Economic Category 3 (EC3) programme and military precision approach programmes. In his flight research, the author made use of several aircraft: Comet 3B (XP915), HS748 (XW750) and BAC 1-11 (XX105).
The book is illustrated with many well-produced photographs and numerous diagrams and charts, taken from the author’s technical papers, showing the results of the various trials and experiments undertaken.
The book will appeal to readers who would like to know more in depth about aspects of autoland and other technology associated with achieving safe landings in all weathers, and about how scientific research programmes are conducted.