Man behind Concorde’s wing design dies aged 89

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THE man responsible for the distinctive delta wing design of Concorde has died at the age of 89.

Sir James Arnot Hamilton, from Penicuik, was one of the leading figures in post-war British aircraft design and led the Concorde project for five years.

He went to Penicuik Academy and then studied civil engineering at Edinburgh University. After graduating in 1943, he was appointed to research on the development of anti-submarine weapons at Helensburgh.

He later worked at the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment and the Royal Aircraft Establishment and was project director on the Jaguar fighter.

In 1966 he was appointed director of the Concorde project. His ultra-slim delta wing design appeared very simple but was actually extremely complex. It did not just curve back, but also twisted and drooped. In 1971, five years before Concorde’s first commercial flight, Sir James became deputy secretary for aerospace in the Department of Trade and served as Deputy Cabinet Secretary to Prime Ministers Ted Heath and Harold Wilson, later moving to the Department of Education. He retired in 1983.

He is survived by partner Marcia Cunningham and three sons from a previous marriage.