Ralph Hooper: flying and skiing

Aircraft designer Ralph Hooper recalls his personal enjoyment of flying and skiing.

Listen to the full interview track and all other tracks from this interview on British Library Sounds

Do you think there’s any benefit for an aeronautical engineer in actually knowing how to fly a plane, actually having that flight experience? 

Yeah I think it helps, even if it’s only fairly rudimentary stuff, it helps. You get used to the idea of what it feels like to pull a hard turn or to fly inverted or a roll or a loop, or whatever. And it just gives you a feel for the whole thing. But it could only be a first step, of course, and I was lucky enough, well many of us were lucky enough to fly in the company’s products. I have flown in the Hunter and the Harrier and the Hawk, and er, sheer delight. I mean you’ve got a professional in the front cockpit, I hasten to add, in each case. Compared with gliding, it’s noisy and I mean you’re strapped in, you’re strapped in like a chicken. You really don’t move very much relative to the seat, in case you have to use the bang seat. But apart from that, it’s delight, I mean the controls are light and it’s not like using manual controls, and it does whatever you want. As one of the Marines once said in respect of the Harrier, ‘It goes where you point it and the engine keeps running, who could ask for anything more?’ [Laughs] That and skiing were there two most enjoyable things, three dimensional sports you might say. I think skiing comes out on top. On the day when you get an absolutely perfect day, and the snow is perfect and the sun’s out and there are reasonable shadows on the ground so you can see what shape the ground is you’re going to run over. And you have days when you feel absolutely on top of the world and you can’t do anything wrong, you never fall over, and you come out at the end of a day like that thinking, hard to beat, you know.
  • Interviewee Ralph Hooper
  • Duration 00:02:09
  • Copyright British Library Board
  • Interviewer Thomas Lean
  • Date of interview 8/18/2010
  • Shelfmark C1379/27
  • Keywords

Related Audio Clips

The following clips are short extracts from an in-depth interview.
To listen to the full interview visit http://sounds.bl.uk

Related Video Clips

Related disciplines