Sir Robert Alexander Watson Watt, KCB, FRS, FRAeS (13 April 1892 – 5 December 1973) was a British pioneer of radio direction finding and radar technology.
Born in Brechin, Angus, Watt began his career in radio physics with a job at the Met Office, where he began looking for accurate ways to track thunderstorms using the radio signals given off by lightning. This led to the 1920s development of a system later known as huff-duff. Although well publicized at the time, the system's enormous military potential was not developed until the late 1930s. Huff-duff allowed operators to determine the location of an enemy radio in seconds and it became a major part of the network of systems that helped defeat the U-boat threat. It is estimated that huff-duff was used in about a quarter of all attacks on U-boats.
In 1935 Watt was asked to comment on reports of a German death ray based on radio. Watt and his assistant Arnold Frederic Wilkins quickly determined it was not possible, but Wilkins suggested using radio signals to locate aircraft at long distances. This led to a February 1935 demonstration where signals from a BBC short-wave transmitter were bounced off a Handley Page Heyford aircraft. Watt led the development of a practical version of this device, which entered service in 1938 under the code name Chain Home. This system provided the vital advance information that helped the Royal Air Force win the Battle of Britain.
After the success of his invention, Watson Watt was sent to the US in 1941 to advise on air defence after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. He returned and continued to lead radar development for the War Office and Ministry of Supply. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1941, was given a knighthood in 1942 and was awarded the US Medal for Merit in 1946.
David F. McIntyre is one of Scotland's aviation heroes - the first man to fly over Everest and founder of Scottish Aviation. David F. McIntyre is one of Scotland’s unsung heroes, perhaps known for his Everest achievement, but less well known for his role in developing a thriving aircraft and airline industry in Scotland. A quiet man of vision and determination, he followed a dream of a Scottish industry leading the world…
He was born in Govan, Glasgow in 1905 and grew up in a period when aviation was blossoming. At the time of his birth Scotland’s aviation history had hardly begun but it would not be long before the success of the Wright brothers at Kittyhawk, North Carolina in 1903 inspired Scots engineers. The Barnwell brothers in Stirling, the Gibsons in Edinburgh and Preston Watson in Dundee were all to achieve powered flight by 1910.
During World War Two Prestwick became an important training centre for RAF pilots and David was heavily involved with this and with the later development of Prestwick into an international airport.
Winifred Drinkwater captained a Glasgow to Campbeltown flight for Midland and Scottish Air Ferries in April 1933, becoming the first woman to pilot a scheduled service.
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