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Past Meeting

David Rowland - The Royal Flying Corps at War: The Early Years

Royal Aircraft Factory BE2
Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 two seat reconnaissance aircraft with a 70 hp Renault engine

When the The Royal Flying Corps (RFC) crossed to France in August 1914 to take its place alongside the "Poor Bloody Infantry" and the other elements of the British Expeditionary Force, the military authorities mainly saw the aeroplane as a platform for reconnaissance.

In itself that was something of a "visionary" step forward from the 1910 statement by the then professional head of the army who said that military aviation was "a useless and expensive fad".

Crossley Tender
Crossley Y-Type Tender: 20-25 hp 4 cyl petrol
for 11 personnel/1680 lbs freight
This talk examined the origins of the RFC, who went to France and what they did with the aircraft they had and, driven by the necessity of war, the development of tactics, equipment, communications and weapons in the first year of the Great War.

David Rowland has been a President of the Royal Aeronautical Society, and was a Concorde Training Captain & General Manager. He is also a fascinating and engaging speaker.
Farman Longhorn
Farman Longhorn (so called because of long 'horns' carrying the canard elevator in front)
in service from mid-1913, used extensively for training: top speed 60mph, ceiling 13,000 ft
(Photo Copyright Royal Aeronautical Society)

David Rowland FRAeS FRIN

David joined BOAC in 1969 as a co-pilot/navigator on VC 10 aircraft and then joined the Concorde fleet in 1976, soon after the aircraft entered service, serving initially as a co-pilot and then as a Captain and manager of the Concorde fleet.

P and M Motorcycle
Phelam and Moore motorcycle:
498 cc max speed of 50mph
used by the RFC in WW1
He retired from flying in 1999 and since then has taken the opportunity to develop his knowledge of the Great War and especially aviation in that conflict.

He gives talks on WW1 subjects and took part in the BBC2 Timewatch documentary "WW1 - Aces Falling" (March 2009) that focussed on the flying careers of both Jimmy McCudden VC and Edward Mannock VC.

He is a Past Chairman of the Heart of England Branch of the Western Front Association.

David is also a Fellow and Past-President of the Royal Aeronautical Society, a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation and a Liveryman of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators.

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