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ChristiaanJ
1st Oct 2009, 16:03
Ex Concorde flight test support engineer (Fairford and Filton).

I have an AICU computer (air intake control unit) from the BA auction.

I have some documentation, but not the CMM (component maintenance manual).
I still dream of finding a copy somewhere (not an original, I'm not a collector, and of course I'll pay for the copying).

I tried the PPRuNe Nostalgia forum some time ago, but that was clearly not the right place.

Anybody here who could help me in the chase?

Grasscarp
1st Oct 2009, 16:11
I did a quick google and found some information towards the bottom of this page, but it is all in French
FAQ de fr.rec.aviation (http://www.aviation-fr.info/dom/dominique7.php)

ChristiaanJ
1st Oct 2009, 16:36
Many thanks, Grasscarp.
I know the site and had read that, but I've now copied it, to print it out and drop it in my AICU 'dossier'.
(French no problem, I worked for Elliott-SFENA!)
I also have the BA notes, which are quite detailed functionally, but don't go "inside the box"..... that's why I'm still hunting for the CMM with the block diagrams and schematics.

The system was manufactured by the BAC Guided Weapons division, and I'm not sure what they have morphed into since.

sooty655
1st Oct 2009, 19:08
BAC (and Hawker Siddeley) were absorbed into British Aerospace, and are now part of BAe Systems.

I've no idea if they have an archive of BAC stuff, but it must be worth a try.

ChristiaanJ
2nd Oct 2009, 14:09
sooty655,
Thanks!

The snag is that BAe Systems now has so many "tentacles", that it's difficult to know where to begin ... I'll probably have to start with the PR department.

I wonder if there is some kind of "Historical Branch", same as Rolls Royce.

Any clues to where to start will be gratefully received!

Mr Optimistic
2nd Oct 2009, 14:41
Stevenage or Filton would be my guess.

ChristiaanJ
2nd Oct 2009, 15:33
Mr Optimistic,
Thanks to you too!
That's two steps forward, since "MBDA" narrows it down nicely.
Filton will be my first bet.

sooty655
2nd Oct 2009, 19:18
I wonder if there is some kind of "Historical Branch", same as Rolls Royce.



I'm not aware of a corporate one. There is an Avro Heritage Group based at Woodford, and I suspect each of the original companies probably have their own, either official or otherwise.

Mr Optimistic
2nd Oct 2009, 19:57
I think its called 'Vector': I'll see if I can find out who manages it at Stevenage. A published email enquiry to them may get some old salt's attention.

ChristiaanJ
2nd Oct 2009, 21:57
I'm not aware of a corporate one. There is an Avro Heritage Group based at Woodford, and I suspect each of the original companies probably have their own, either official or otherwise.
Regards, SootySeems there is no such thing for BAC GW, and since most of it was classified anyway, that's understandable.

try the MBDA in-house magazine
I think its called 'Vector': I'll see if I can find out who manages it at Stevenage. A published email enquiry to them may get some old salt's attention.Any link (via PM if you prefer) would be welcome.
I would suspect the AICS was developed at Filton (closer to Concorde :) ) but Stevenage would also know about it.

My main interest in this relic is, that it is one of the first digital computers in a civil airliner (apart from INS) and that the technology only just antedates the arrival of the microprocessor in (among others) the earliest Airbus DAFS.

CJ

Self Loading Freight
3rd Oct 2009, 15:13
Have you looked inside the box? I used to have some old Concorde test equipment circuit boards (at least, that's how they were described by the hairy old engineer from BAe who gave them to me), and they had what looked like banks of flip-flops configured from very 60s era metal-can transistors. Is your computer discrete components too, or MSI?

It would be a worthwhile if time-consuming project to collate as much information about the Conc's avionics, while there are still enough people around who worked on them.

R

Jhieminga
3rd Oct 2009, 16:41
You could try the Brooklands Museum as well. The Aviation Curator might have an idea about who to contact.

ChristiaanJ
3rd Oct 2009, 16:49
Have you looked inside the box?Yes, not half....
I've had all the boards out (24 boards in all), did an inventory, then listed all the components on the digital boards (10 boards), and identified them.
However, "reverse-engineering" (or rather, extracting some of the schematics) is near-impossible, since most are three-layer boards (tracks on the outside, but a groundplane between them).

I'm primarily interested in the digital part... most of the AICU is small analog boards with synchro demodulators and modulators, and control logic, and I'm already familiar with those from my work on the AFCS, which is essentially all analog.
... banks of flip-flops configured from very 60s era metal-can transistors. Is your computer discrete components too, or MSI?As usual for the early 1970s era, it's a mix, including individual transistors (and relays), op-amps, and SSI and MSI logic, all TTL, still all in the below-200 type range.

It would be a worthwhile if time-consuming project to collate as much information about the Conc's avionics, while there are still enough people around who worked on them.I know...
Much the same has occurred to me.
Museums are usually more interested in "iconic" items like instruments, such as the famous Mach-meter.

One stroke of luck is that the key British Airways manuals (such as flying manual, maintenance, wiring, illustrated part catalog, Olympus maintenance and overhaul) were all transferred to CDs (later DVDs) and are still available.
They already constitute an incredibly rich source of information for nearly everybody still working on the aircraft or the simulators, or those trying to identify a Concorde part they obtained though an auction.

It's the component maintenance manuals that already seem to be lost, mostly.

And yes, information and knowledge is being lost. It's remarkable how many people in the aviation field do no longer have any idea of what an "analog computer" is...

CJ

ChristiaanJ
3rd Oct 2009, 17:13
You could try the Brooklands Museum as well. The Aviation Curator might have an idea about who to contact.Thanks...
Talk about overlooking the blindingly obvious....
I know most of the people working on the Brooklands Concorde, and there is even an AICU on display in the rear cabin of Delta Golf !
I'm pretty certain there is no CMM for the AICU at Brooklands, but yes, he's definitely somebody to ask for a contact.

CJ