Catalogue description General records relating to aircraft research, development, production and civil aviation

Details of Division within AVIA
Reference: Division within AVIA
Title: General records relating to aircraft research, development, production and civil aviation

General records of the Ministry of Aviation and other ministries with aviation responsibilities relating to aircraft research, development, production and supply; civil aviation; internal services; and committees.

RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT, PRODUCTION and SUPPLY: inventions, and research and development AVIA 8; Ministry of Aircraft Production AVIA 15; Bristol Aeroplane Company Ltd records (re 'Brabazon' aircraft) AVIA 47; Ministry of Supply, research AVIA 54; Ministry of Supply, Air Division, and Ministry of Aviation AVIA 63; Ministry of Supply, Research Division, and Ministry of Aviation AVIA 64; Deputy Controller of Aircraft (Research and Development) AVIA 73; Scientific Research (Air) and Future Aircraft Division AVIA 80; Electronics Research Council AVIA 82; Guided Weapons Division AVIA 83; Aeronautical Inspection Directorate AVIA 88; Electrical Inspection Directorate AVIA 89; Exports and Electronics Industry Division AVIA 92; Directorate of Technical Costs AVIA 93; Electronic Research and Development Division, Linesman/Mediator Project Authority AVIA 94; Committee of Inquiry into the Aircraft Industry (Plowden Committee) AVIA 97; Scientific Research (Air) and Future Aircraft Division, Hovercraft Section AVIA 98; Aviation Operational Research Branch AVIA 110; Security, Atomic Weapons and Research Division and Central Statistics Branch AVIA 111; Aircraft General Services Research and Development Division and Resident Technical Officer (Aircraft) Administration AVIA 114.

CIVIL AVIATION: AVIA 2; aircrew licences AVIA 3; certificates of airworthiness and aircraft registration AVIA 4; Aeronautical Information Service AVIA 75; Chief Air Traffic Control Officer AVIA 87; Air Transport Licensing Board AVIA 95, AVIA 96; Directorate of Control (Plans) AVIA 100; Divisional Controller Southern Division AVIA 103; Directorate of Administration, Air Traffic Control Services AVIA 104; Aerodromes Technical Directorate AVIA 105; Aviation Economic Planning and General Policy Division AVIA 106; Aerodromes (General) Division and Civil Aviation Division 3 AVIA 86,AVIA 107; Directorate of Control (Operations) AVIA 108, AVIA 109; Aerodromes (General) Division, Branch GA3 AVIA 112; Aviation Safety and General Division AVIA 113; Chief Officer, London (Heathrow) Airport AVIA 115; Directorate of Navigation Services (Telecommunications) AVIA 117; Aerodromes Management Division and Airports, London and Prestwick Division AVIA 118; Aerodromes, Planning Divisions and Airports London and Prestwick Division AVIA 119; Aviation Overseas Policy Division AVIA 120; Aerodromes Technical Branch AVIA 122; Controllerate of National Air Traffic Control Services AVIA 123.

INTERNAL SERVICES of MINISTRY of SUPPLY: general AVIA 22, AVIA 49, AVIA 65; establishment AVIA 46; labour AVIA 50; finance AVIA 51; accounting AVIA 52; contracts AVIA 53; production AVIA 55; inspection AVIA 56; disposals AVIA 57.

INTERNAL SERVICES of VARIOUS MINISTRIES with AVIATION RESPONSIBILITIES: organisational directories AVIA 33; office memoranda AVIA 34; personal files AVIA 43, AVIA 76, AVIA 77, AVIA 78, AVIA 79.

COMMITTEES: Civil Aviation Radio Advisory Committee AVIA 35; Sub-committee for Investigation of German Electronics and Signals Organisation AVIA 39; Ministry of Aviation committees AVIA 84; Joint Industrial Council AVIA 85; Committee on the Air Traffic Control Officer Class (Radley Committee) AVIA 116.

GENERAL: miscellaneous unregistered papers AVIA 10, AVIA 12; civil and military airfields AVIA 62; aviation publications AVIA 70; Chief Economist's files relating to Concorde AVIA 99; air services agreements AVIA 121; specimens from destroyed series AVIA 900.

Date: 1832-1990
Related material:

For further civil aviation records see:

Division within BT

Division within SUPP

Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Physical description: 77 series
Administrative / biographical background:

Air Ministry

In January 1920 responsibility for aircraft design and production was transferred from the Ministry of Munitions to the Air Ministry (set up in 1918). In June 1922 the Director General of Supply and Research was renamed 'Air Member for Supply and Research'. In April 1924 the Directorate of Research was renamed the Directorate of Research and Technical Development. It was, in fact, a joint directorate with separate directors of scientific research and technical development. In 1938 the directorate came under the control of a new Director General of Research and Development. The Secretary of State for Air delegated certain of his functions in respect of civil aircraft to an Air Registration Board which was formally constituted in 1937. The expanding aircraft production programme after 1935 was at first the responsibility of the Air Member for Supply and Organisation, but in 1938 it passed to a civilian Director General of Production. In May 1940 the functions of the Air Member for Development and Production were transferred to the new Ministry of Aircraft Production. The Air Council Committee on Supply also became the responsibility of the new ministry and was renamed the Air Supply Board.

Ministry of Aircraft Production

The Ministry of Aircraft Production was responsible for the supply, inspection, and repair of aircraft, their armament and equipment, for research, design and development, and for storage pending issue to operational squadrons. The Ministry was also responsible for atomic energy research until this passed to the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research in 1941. In 1943 the Ministry of Aircraft Production's responsibilities for the erection of aircraft factories passed to the Ministry of Works. In August 1945 a combined Minister of Aircraft Production and Minister of Supply was appointed and on 1 April 1946 the Ministry of Aircraft Production was dissolved and its functions passed to the Ministry of Supply.

Ministry of Civil Aviation

A Ministry of Civil Aviation was established in April 1945 under an act which transferred to the new department the powers of the Air Ministry under the Air Navigation Acts and related legislation. These powers were later amplified in the Civil Aviation Act 1949 and were reflected in the organisation of the department. The primary duty of the Ministry was the encouragement and development of British civil aviation. This was carried out by all its divisions according to their specialised duties, but general responsibility rested with the Air Services Divisions, which were also charged with the supervision of civil air undertakings and private flying. The minister was advised in matters affecting the maintenance and charges of scheduled air services by an Air Transport Advisory Council and on the safety of civil aviation by an Air Safety Board; after July 1952 proposals for new services or changes in existing services were submitted through the same channel. The regulation of civil aviation covered a wide range of duties including the licensing, inspection and regulation of airports and aerodromes, supervision of matters of safety and training, and the investigation of accidents. The Ministry maintained a secretariat to serve the Conmonwealth Air Transport Council, Commonwealth and Empire conferences on Radio for Civil Aviation, and the Committee on Air Navigation and Group Organisation.

Ministry of Supply, aviation functions

In October 1959 the civil aviation functions of the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation were transferred to the Ministry of Supply, which had already been merged with the Ministry of Aircraft Production. It was simultaneously disbanded and reconstituted as the Ministry of Aviation. At the same time the supply of equipment to the Royal Air Force, other than the production and supply of aircraft, was restored to the Air Ministry.

Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation

In 1951 the posts of Minister of Civil Aviation and Minister of Transport were committed to one minister. The minister's two departments continued to function separately until October 1953 when they were combined to form the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation. Civil aviation remained distinct within the Ministry and links were still maintained with the Ministry of Supply and the Air Ministry. Functions remained largely unchanged until July 1959 when the Air Traffic Control Board was appointed and made responsible jointly to the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation and the Secretary of State for Air. On 21 October 1959 the civil aviation functions of the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation were transferred to the Ministry of Supply, which thereupon changed its title to the Ministry of Aviation.

Ministry of Aviation

The Ministry of Aviation retained the powers of a supply department with regard to guided missiles, radar and electronic equipment. The Hovercraft Section appears to have been created, within the Scientific Research (Air) and Future Aircraft Division, in 1966. The Ministry of Aviation's Aviation Operational Research Branch was transferred to the Board of Trade in 1966. Between July and December 1966 most of the Ministry's other civil aviation functions were transferred in stages to the Board of Trade.

Air Transport Licensing Board

In 1960 the Aviation Ministry's civil aviation licensing functions were transferred to a new Air Transport Licensing Board, which inherited the work of the Air Transport Advisory Council and incorporated the Ministry's functions in respect of the licensing of independent air services. The Board consisted of between six and ten paid members appointed by, and under the direction of, the Minister of Aviation. The Board was empowered to consider applications from independent companies for the operation and maintenance of scheduled services. The Board also reviewed the tariffs proposed by independent operators and made appropriate recommendations to the minister.

Ministry of Technology, aviation responsibilities

When the Ministry of Aviation was abolished in February 1967 the Ministry of Technology absorbed its responsibilities for sponsorship of the aircraft industry and its research and development functions. When the Ministry of Technology was merged in the Department of Trade and Industry in October 1970, its responsibilities for aerospace research, development and procurement, both civil and military, were allotted to a separate Ministry of Aviation Supply.

Ministry of Aviation Supply and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)

The Ministry of Aviation Supply was wound up on 1 May 1971; its responsibilities for civil aerospace policy and relations with the industries concerned were transferred to the DTI, and its responsibilities for defence procurement to the Ministry of Defence. Following dissatisfaction with the operation of air licensing arrangements, the government had mounted enquiries between 1967 and 1969, and the resulting act of 1971 established a Civil Aviation Authority, which began work in April 1972. This body took over the functions of the Air Transport Licensing Board and those of the Air Registration Board, together with duties previously exercised by the Department of Trade and Industry's civil aviation divisions.

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