Award for Dowty sprung undercarriage wheel

Posted on 06 Apr 2018 and read 680 times
Award for Dowty sprung undercarriage wheelThe Dowty ( internally sprung wheel for aircraft undercarriages — designed and built by Sir George Dowty in the 1930s — was presented with an Engineering Heritage Award by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) at a ceremony at Safran Landing Systems in Gloucester on 8 March.

The device has been recognised for “accelerating the evolution of aircraft of the time, increasing a plane’s ability to fly at higher speeds and transmit higher braking loads safely through a slender undercarriage”.

Although Sir George did not design the first internally sprung wheel (previous designs by the American company Curtiss and French company Breguet were not refined for practical application), he saw potential in the sprung wheel, refined its design and set up his own business.

He quickly received interest from Kawasaki, one of Japan’s first aircraft companies, which ordered six internally sprung wheels for the KDA5 type 92 aircraft.

The internally sprung wheel was later used on such aircraft as the Hawker Fury, Westland Lysander and Gloster Gladiator.

Previous winners of Engineering Heritage Awards include Alan Turing’s Bombe (Enigma-breaking) machine at Bletchley Park, the E-Type Jaguar and Concorde.

Other aircraft-related winners include the Short SC1 VTOL aircraft (which provided data that influenced later designs of aeroplanes), the Rolls-Royce RB211 engine and the Vulcan Bomber XH558.

The Dowty internally sprung wheel is the 115th recipient of the award.

John Wood, chairman of the Engineering Heritage Committee and past IET president, said: “The internally sprung wheel is the foundation on which the Dowty empire was built.

"Sir George had many difficulties to overcome during the development and manufacture of the original wheels; however, he was able to produce a high-quality engineered product — on time and within budget. The success of this product led to more orders, allowing him to expand the company.”

The picture shows the ImechE’s John Wood (left) and Steve Parry, head of test engineering (UK) at Safran Landing Systems.

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