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Sir Robert Lang Lickley


1912 - 1998

Aeronautical Engineer. Born in Dundee, Lickley was educated at the High School there. He went on to read Civil Engineering at the University of Edinburgh then completed his education at Imperial College (London). He joined Hawker Aircraft Ltd. in 1933. There, under Sir Sydney Camm, he was one of those responsible for the development of the Hurricane fighter, used extensively in World War II. As Chief Project Engineer (1941-6), he was involved in the design of other famous Hawker fighter aircraft; namely the Tempest, Typhoon, Fury and the jet-powered Sea Hawk. He left the industry to become the first Professor of Aircraft Design at Cranfield College (1946-51). As Chief Engineer, then Technical Director, for the Fairey Aviation Company (1951-60), Lickley introduced the Gannet to service and was responsible for the design and development of the FD-2 Delta, which took the world speed record in 1956 (1132 mph / 1811 kph). He returned to Hawker in 1960 where he had overall responsibility for the highly successful Harrier Jump Jet and the Hawk Trainer. He retired in 1976, but took on the role of overseeing the revitalisation of Rolls Royce's aero-engine business on behalf of the government.

Lickley thus played an important role in the development from piston-engined biplanes, through the classic monoplane fighter, to the various examples of jet interceptors. His achievements were recognised through two Gold Medals from the Royal Aeronautical Society (1957 and 1958), a knighthood (1984) and honorary degrees from the Universities of Edinburgh (1973) and Strathclyde (1987).


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