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Colin Torkington interviewed by Rob Linn for the E.A. Crome aviation oral history project [sound recording]
Bib ID 3118352
Format AudioAudio, OnlineOnline [sound recording]
Torkington, Colin, 1936-, Interviewee
Online Versions
Access Conditions Access open for research, personal copies and public use. 
Description 2004 
2 digital audio tapes (74 min.) 

E.A. Crome aviation oral history project.


Colin Torkington, aeronautical engineer (retired), born in Yorkshire, UK, talks about his early life and work history; attending the College of Aeronautics at Cranfield; being recruited to work at Aeronautical Research Laboratories, Department of Supply in Melbourne and moving to Australia in 1961; his work on Mustang wings and testing; the move to Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) as Airworthiness Engineer; his research into the Viscount accidents and the Fokker Friendship investigation; safety factors of aircraft in the 1960s in comparison to the early 2000s; in 1982 moving to Canberra and taking up another position in DCA; in 1994 moving to Canada as Australian representative on the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO),holding this position for 5 years; the review of ICAO and its work; his retirement in 2000; he discusses the impact of the Second World War on aviation; he elaborates on his decision to come to Australia on a 3 year contract; he describes the laboratory at Fisherman's Bend, Vic.; the work at DCA and the emphasis on defect reporting, this reporting has pushed Australia to the forefront of aviation; the international exchange of information.

Torkington discusses the Airworthiness section at DCA and those involved; how Aviation safety was the core of their work; the cooperation with RAAF and Navy staff and the value of discussions in sorting out aircraft problems; the role of DCA in establishing fatigue specifications; the shift of DCA to Canberra and the building of new laboratories; how after 10 years there was a bout of cost cutting and its effects; he talks further about the variety of work at the ICAO and his role as Commissioner; the accumulation of world knowledge about aircraft and aviation and the role of ICAO making aviation safer; his time in Washington and speaking with FAA; working with North American National Research Council investigating aviation safety; his memories of people he worked with; the fact that DCA was a prestige Department before being moved to the Dept. of Transport; how in the 1990s when he was in Canada the research laboratory was closed; he talks about its loss and its worth to staff and the nation; the pivotal moments in his working life and accident investigation


Recorded on May. 19, 2004 at Latham, A.C.T.

Also available online

Index/Finding Aid Note Timed summary and corrected transcript (typescript, 38 leaves). 
Subjects Torkington, Colin, 1936- -- Interviews  |  Australia. Department of Civil Aviation.  |  Aeronautical engineers -- Australia -- Interviews.  |  Aircraft accidents -- Investigation -- Australia.  |  Aeronautics -- Safety measures.
Occupation Engineers.
Other authors/contributors Linn, Rob, Interviewer

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Details Collect From
ORAL TRC 5172/6
Copy: Recording
Special Collections Reading Room
ORAL TRC 5172/6 (transcript)
Copy: Transcript
Special Collections Reading Room
ORAL TRC 5172/6 (summary)
Copy: Summary
Special Collections Reading Room

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