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Table of Contents

Memories of the Bureau, 1946 to 1962





Chapter 1: The Warren Years, 1946 to 1950

Chapter 2: International Meteorology

Chapter 3: The Timcke Years, 1950 to 1955
A Period of Consolidation
Aviation Services
Services for the General Public
Rockets and Atomic Weapons
Instruments and Observations
Climate and Statistics
International Activities
Central Analysis and Development
The Universities
The Meteorology Act
Achievements of the Timcke Years

Chapter 4: A Year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Chapter 5: The Dwyer Years, 1955 to 1962

Chapter 6: A Springboard for the Future

Appendix 1: References

Appendix 2: Reports, Papers, Manuscripts

Appendix 3: Milestones

Appendix 4: Acknowledgements

Appendix 5: Summary by H. N. Warren of the Operation of the Meteorological Section of Allied Air Headquarters, Brisbane, 1942–45



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Aviation Services

Chapter 1 provides a glimpse of the development of civil aviation services in Australia immediately after the war.

One factor restricting development was the state of airfields in Australia. Runways were not long enough for some of the heavier, more modern aircraft. In addition it took some time for the installation of new technological facilities to assist navigation, landing and take-off.

The needs of the RAAF were particularly demanding because their aircraft were much more advanced than those used in civil aviation. The air force acquired jet aircraft many years before their civil counterparts. Wing Commander D. R. (Gel) Cuming flew the first Gloster Meteor jet aircraft in Australia in July 1946 which was followed by the acquisition by the RAAF of a number of different types of modern jet aircraft. In August 1951 Wing Commander Cuming and Flight Lieutenant C. Harvey flew the RAAF's first Jet bomber aircraft, the English Electric Company's Canberra, from England to Australia.

Valuable experience was obtained in meeting the needs of the RAAF for meteorological service for jet aircraft because they operated at much higher levels and had very different responses to meteorological conditions than the piston-engined lower-flying civil aircraft. It was not only the forecasters on RAAF stations who benefited from this experience. I recall that Wing Commander Cuming called on our Research Section to discuss the reaction of highflying aircraft over Darwin. We found that one problem in evaluating aircraft performance arose because conditions over Darwin were very different from those recorded in test flights in the higher latitudes of the UK.

Chapter 1 also mentioned that forecasts for civil aviation were generally for levels below 15 000 feet until TAA introduced the pressurised Convair 240s into service in 1948.

But the main stimulus for the use of more modern aircraft came from Qantas, BCPA, BOAC, TEAL, and other international airlines such as Pan American and KLM. In the late 1940s and early 1950s the British aircraft industry was leading the world's civil aircraft industries, mainly because of the supremacy of the jet engines developed by Rolls Royce. By 1949 the British had test flown the first jet passenger airliner, De Havilland's DH106 Comet. This aircraft, designed to fly at 30 to 40 000 feet and carry 36 passengers, had a somewhat restricted range of about 1 300 nautical miles. BOAC commenced operations with the Comet in 1952 flying to South Africa and the Middle East. Although there were some reservations about the limited range and passenger capacity of the Comet, in December 1951 BCPA had placed orders and in September 1953 BOAC and Qantas announced plans to introduce it on the England-Australia air route.

People in Bright Sparcs - Timcke, Edward Waldemar

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Gibbs, W. J. 1999 'A Very Special Family: Memories of the Bureau of Meteorology 1946 to 1962', Metarch Papers, No. 13 May 1999, Bureau of Meteorology

© Online Edition Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre and Bureau of Meteorology 2001
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