Walker, Percy Brooksbank 1905 - 1980

English; British

(c. 1904-1980), aeronautical scientist

Percy Brooksbank Walker was born in Batley, Yorkshire and was educated at Wheelwright Grammar School, Dewsbury followed by studying engineering at Peterhouse graduating in 1926. He worked for two months on the design staff of the R. 101 airship before returning to Cambridge to undertake research on fluid motion under Professor Melvill Jones. In 1930 he went to the Armstrong-Whitworth Aircraft Co. as a designer and then to Hawker's where he contributed to the design of the Hurricane. In 1935 he went to the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough as a member of the Airworthiness Department.

After serving at the Ministry of Aircraft Production as Assistant Director of Research and Development during the war, he returned to Farnborough in 1945 as Head of Structures Department. Shortly after entering service with BOAC Walker showed how sequences of aircraft accidents were explained by wreckage analysis. He was made CBE in recognition of this work. The award of the Silver Medal of the Royal Aeronautical Society in 1958 and the Distinguished Service Award of the Flight Safety Foundation in 1964 also marked international recognition of his major contributions to safer flying.

Walker retired from Head of Structures Department in 1961. It was suggested to him that he write a history of the R.A.E, so he produced two volumes of a masterly history of Farnborough. He died on the 19th June 1980 at the age of 76.