Unemployed but never idol

Just starting a BA(hons) in Graphic Design

Completed Level 5 HND in Computing and Systems Development

Working as a volunteer engineer at the Tangmere Military Aviation Museum
where I look after the two
Harrier Jump Jets

Also volunteering at Brooklands Museum Weybridge restoring a Danish Hunter

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computing devices 1985-90

Soon after leaving college I began work with this high tech MoD based company on the Castleham Estate in Hastings. Employed as the company graphic designer I helped produce many marketing materials, overhead projections, photographs, and even got to use my modeling skills etc.


The company manufactured new technology, equipment generally used in reconnaissance by aircraft for the RAF. Also they manufactured management systems to help deliver weapons systems all at the pilots control and a touch of a button. Aircraft that I had worked with were the new Hawk 200, Tornados IDS and ADV, Harriers GR3&5 and the all new European Fighter Aircraft or Typhoon as it is known today, Merlin, Apache, and Lynx helicopters. Much of the work I did had restrictions to it so apart from me not having copies of work to show, I simply can't nor can I talk about it in any detail. So a few samples of the kind of stuff I did.


Great photo of Tornado ADV, Tornado IDS, Sea Harrier, Harrier GR5, Hawk 2 and 1, Typhoon.

The company had just taken on loan from its parent company in the states Control Data, it's first Apple Mac, the old silly classic box made portable, ye gods, it was all new then, but they were crap to think back then, they had no system, no memory, you had to disc swap with a 3.5 inch floppy discs to save the drawings, but it took off rapidly once the managing director had seen what I had been up to.


An otherwise dull block diagrams like this one made more visually interesting.

I cut my teeth on my first computer generated illustrations of aircraft added to some otherwise dull block diagrams. And so began a new and very busy time for me, every manager in the building, some 30, wanted me to do there diagrams, for everything. In my four years there I saw the technology change, becoming more advanced, streamlining to the graphic needs. Documents were starting to have added graphics, being produced faster. Then the world went colour with the Mac II, and the digital revolution began to really take off and even though still in its infancy, you could smell the potential of things to come.

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Sample of the proposal front covers.

A proposal team was born to develop the companies future technologies and I was pulled in to help out. Proposals consisted of three or four loose leaf ring binders of up to 400 pages in each, and I had to produce up to some 400 diagrams and illustrations, these were then copied approximately 50 times to present to customers, suppliers, the MoD and RAF. No sooner had one proposal finished another began. I organised photography, pre printed paper production for copying. But it was fun, I enjoyed the work. It always reminded me of an Apple advert that was shown at the time, where everyone in a board room wanted something done urgently, and the little chap in the corner said 'yep, I can do that,' on his little Mac, and before long found himself doing everybodies work. But it was like that. So while my main task was to help generate the proposals in all their glory, I also had to keep all the managers happy too. Naturally there were some air heads but on the whole a lot of really nice people, some a lot more fun then others. And of course some of the perks were pretty cool with visits to the RAF bases and various contractors, and sometimes the RAF came to us.



1987. The very latest colour Mac II with 19" Triniton Monitor, wow, where's the desk gone, all 5 feet of it!


Using the CAD drawings I built these model glaresheilds for cover photos, the glaresheilds simply form part of the dash around the instrument panel for the European Aircraft Project (EFA, Typhoon) the instruments themselves act as the get you home kit, with led displays and backlit buttons, plus my favourite, an artificial horizon and compass, which I made from the bottom of a beer can, that's inspiration for you. Many comments were made, even the drawing office boffin's were amused as they had no idea what it would look like and they were designing it.


High speed digital text box for army comm's, not sure if they ever got the contract.



Slaves units testing the weapon pylons on Hawk, Tornado and EFA.

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More proposal covers


FLIR camera as now seen mounted to rescue helicopters

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Most of my designs at the time were illustrated using Aldus Freehand, generally output to black and white laser, they were huge heavy printers, after which might be output to four colour separations and chomalin. Later colour laser copies for finished proposals.

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Damn! that's where I put on weight.

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Certificates for pilot, and ground staff training, quality.


My visit to RAF Conningsby to play with Tornado ADV, the photos were terrible with the hangers tungsten lighting, I wish I had a digital camera then.





On one occasion the RAF came to visit us, in style, I might add. It was a good job we were on the roof at the time, we could see from our position they were clearly lost as they hovered for some time above different car parks around the Castleham estate before seeing us waving at them, and in they came. The weather was kind that day and the presentation was held out on the front lawn.


My demise came swiftly as new bosses took over making cuts here and there. I was asked by the managing director to produce another mad panic presentation, for Boeing this time, nothing strange or out of the ordinary.