Event Details


All Talks and Meetings will commence at 2.30 pm and be held in the Chichester Room, Field Place, Worthing; unless another venue or time is indicated.

Visitors are welcome to attend all meetings; there is a charge for non members of £5 which includes tea/coffee and biscuits, members and spouses pay £2. To become a member see Membership under About Us.

Coffee mornings take place at 10.30am on the 3rd and last Thursdays of the month. Click here for full details…

Date Event Description Venue
Tues 17th
AGM and Talk

The Technical Challenges to Taking Astronomical Images

John Mallett.

John’s talk will be about the journey he has taken to gain high quality images and data from a UK amateur observatory.  The technical challenges in dealing with mechanical, electrical, atmospheric variations, noise and errors that cause image and measurement data quality issues.  For example, he will look at the control loop required to track stars using a computer driven telescope mount and adjust for errors in gear systems, motor resolution, camera noise, atmospheric movement etc. He will also examine some of the other effects that cause errors in observing distant objects in terms of the uncertainty of time and our movement round the sun and solar system.

Field Place
Tues 8th

Goonhilly – a Tale of Two Half-centuries

Des Prouse, Secretary and Trustee, Goonhilly Heritage Society.

Goonhilly Satellite Earth Station has been instrumental in the history and development of satellite communications since the early 1960s. The talk will commence with a summary of the evolution over its first half-century, leading up to plans for its demolition in 2009. The second part will show how the site was saved from the bulldozer and will introduce some of the exciting plans which the new owner has for using the existing large dishes as the basis for the Goonhilly Space Science Park over the next half-century, during which Goonhilly (and hence Cornwall) will be ideally placed to gain universal acclaim as a centre of excellence for space communications and navigation for missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond.

Field Place
Tues 5th

In December 2016 we were given a talk by Martin Sigrist about the Electrification Traction Power arrangements for the Thameslink Project and particularly the management of the interface between the 25kV AC and 750V DC systems between Blackfriars and City Thameslink stations. This is carried out at Ludgate Cellars Substation. Martin has arranged a technical visit for us. The substation is a short walk from City Thameslink station. As the substation contains static and enclosed equipment, no special personal protective equipment is required. The equipment comprises HVAC and High- Speed DC switchgear, Rectifiers, Rectifier Transformers and uniquely here, DC contactors operated automatically by the train movements.

If you are coming on the visit, I recommend that you re-read Martin’s talk which is in the August 2017 newsletter andcan be retrieved from the RCEA website.

We will meet at the south exit from City Thameslink station. The planned Thameslink train is the 11.13 arrival from Brighton (depart 0958). There is a connection (10.10 arrive, 10.16 depart) at Haywards Heath off the 09.32 from West Worthing (09.15 from Littlehampton) for those travelling from stations between Littlehampton and Hove.
The maximum number for the visit is 20 which would form two groups of 10.

Ludgate Cellars Substation
Tues 12th November Talk

Cooch Memorial Lecture: The Electrified World – A Perfect Place for Fuel Cells

Paul Barnard, Director of Special Projects, Ceres Power Ltd.

As the world becomes more electrified and moves away from traditional sources of energy for electrical generation and transport motive power, there are many challenges in the transition and the final energy picture – whatever the future holds.

Renewable sources of electrical energy have intermittency or energy storage challenges, traditional generating assets have emissions challenges, the national grid has capacity limits, electrical vehicles have battery and charging challenges. Fuel cells offer an answer to some of these challenges in ways to ease and accelerate the transition to an electrified world.

Fuel cells are the most efficient means of converting chemical energy to electrical energy. Historically, they have been a mixture of science fiction and space race fact; now they are proving to be real world products. Offering electrical power outputs ranging from Watts to greater than Mega Watts, fuel flexibility and suitability for stationary and motive applications – the future world is a perfect place for fuel cells.  

Ceres Power are a world leader in intermediate temperature solid oxide fuel cells with global OEM partners and projects spanning different fuels, power ranges and applications. The talk will explore the role of fuel cells in the future energy mix and provide details of Ceres Power’s world leading technology and research. 

The Pavilion
Field Place
Thurs 5th December Lunch R.C.E.A. Christmas Lunch at Windsor Hotel, Worthing Worthing
Tues 10th

Creating UK traceable national measurement standards for medical ultrasound and underwater acoustics – a success story

Dr Roy C. Preston, retired Senior NPL Fellow

The UK National Physical Laboratory started work on establishing measurement standards for medical ultrasound in the late 1970’s to meet the needs of clinicians and industry to ensure safety. Medical ultrasonic devices operate mainly in the frequency range 1 – 20 MHz, so measuring devices were developed such as radiation force balances to measure ultrasonic power and new types of hydrophone to measure acoustic pressure. Optical calibration methods directly traceable to the SI system were also developed. During the 1980’s and 1990’s NPL built an impressive capability that today leads the world. During the late 1990’s opportunities were taken to address the need for traceable standards in underwater acoustics. New capabilities were established, including a 100 Tonne acoustic pressure vessel which is unique in Europe, and now these have also become world leaders. This talk will explain the background to these developments and achievements.

The Barn

Field Place

Tues 14th

Operation Overlord, D-Day 6 June 1944

Dudley Hooley, Director, Tangmere Military Aviation Museum

The talk inevitably can only skim the surface of what was the largest amphibious landing in the history of warfare.  After a brief introduction to the allied leaders, the talk covers Operation Fortitude, the great deception to persuade the German high command that the invasion would be centred on the Pas de Calais.  The eccentric Gen Sir Percy Cleghorn Hobart and his ‘Funnies’ which played such a key role in the success of the invasion, Operation Deadstick, the attack on Pegasus Bridge, which signalled the opening shots of the invasion,  A brief look at the German defences and role of the X-Craft.  The landings at the Pointe de Hoc and the four invasion beaches.   Air support flown from local Sussex airfields includes the story of Spitfire ML 407, still flying today.  Finally a few staggering statistics conclude what truly was the ‘Longest Day’.

Field Place
Tues 11th

 “Wealden Iron – the UK’s First Industrial Centre”

Dr Tim Smith, Hon Sec Wealden Iron Research Group

The Weald was the centre of the armaments industry for nearly 200 years, supplying cannon and shot to the Government and merchant ships.
The traditional Sussex rhyme:
‘Master Huggett and his man John,                                    They did cast the first can-non’

dates from around 1574 in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.  The casting of shot and cannon continued until 1775 when the Industrial Revolution brought new, more accurate, methods of boring cannon to Northern England and Scotland which Wealden gun founders could not match.
This talk will first look at the earlier bloomery furnaces dating from the iron Age to the Medieval period and then follow the blast furnaces and forges which dominated iron production for over 300 years from 1490 to 1827.


Field Place

Tues 10th

 The Evolution of Military Digital Flight Simulators

Stewart Hilton, former Technical Director, ESS GmbH (Eurofighter Simulation Systems).

The talk will cover the needs and benefits that drove development and advancements over the decades (late 60s to present day) and the challenges faced in providing solutions to the training needs (requirements) and meeting the expectations of the customer (MoD).
Emphasise will be focused on the engineering challenges and how they were overcome. The talk will use examples from the most demanding of military aircraft types, the fast jets, including the Jaguar, Tornado, and Typhoon.

 The first simulator to be discussed will be the Jaguar.The aircraft was developed in the 1960. The SEPECAT Jaguar was a joint venture between Britain and France to produce a supersonic, low level strike fighter. The maiden flight took place on 8th Sep 1968. The aircraft entered service with the RAF in 1973 and remained in service with the RAF until 2007.                                            

The Second simulator to be discussed will be the Tornado. The Pasnavia Tornado is a family twin engine, variable sweep wing multirole combat aircraft jointly developed and manufactured by Italy, the UK and West Germany.The maiden flight was 14 August 1974; entered service with the RAF in 1979 and remained in service with the  RAF until April 2019.

If time permits the Third simulator to be discussed will be the Typhoon. The Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin-engine, canard–delta wing, multirole fighter. This again was a workshare program comprising UK, Germany, Spain and Italy.

The talk will look in detail at:
1.The introduction of the digital computer.
2.The critical importance of Cuing (visual, motion, sound and ‘G’) 3.The simulation of offensive and defensive weapon systems
4.The challenges posed by the design of full mission training systems                                              5.The future of military synthetic training.

Field Place
Mon 20th April Outing Hassocks Garden Centre, talk on history of lawn mowers and optional Lunch     Hassocks
Fri 15th May Visit

Visit to Gatwick Aviation Museum on Friday 15 May at 11.00am

The Gatwick Aviation Museum at Vallance By-Ways, Lowfield Heath Road, Surrey RH6 0BT houses a number of historically important aircraft from the Cold War era, including an Avro Shackleton Mk 3, a rare Blackburn Buccaneer S1, an English Electric Lightning FS3 and a de Havilland Sea Vixen. A number of engines are also on display, from piston engines including the Rolls-Royce Merlin and the Armstrong Siddeley Double Mamba to gas turbines from the Rolls-Royce Nene to the Olympus, Pegasus and Spey. The museum also gives a history of Gatwick Airport’s role from the Second World War onwards. We hope to have one of the museum’s volunteers available to guide us round the exhibits but, because of the uncertainties linked to the coronavirus pandemic, this will open to change. Cost of entry is £7.50 per person, payable to the museum on the day.

Sat 23rd May Visit Culham-repeat of 2019 visit. Places not guaranteed Culham
Thurs 25th June Outing Sheffield Park – Waterlily Festival Sheffield Park
Mon 20th July Visit We are planning a visit to the Materials Recycling Facility at Ford. The visit will include a short presentation in the Education Centre, followed by an opportunity to the the MRF’s state of the art technology from their viewing platform. Finally, there will be a Q&A session. The visit is expected to last for about 2 hours. Please note that visitors need to climb stairs to reach the viewing platform, so the visit is not suitable for those with limited mobility. Also, anyone with a pacemaker will not be able to go on the visit because large magnets are used in the separation process. The visit is limited to a maximum of 14 people, so priority will be given to RCEA members. Please note the early cut-off date. This is because Ford require full details of all visitors at least a month in advance of the visit, Ford
Tues 4th Aug Visit Hovercraft Museum Gosport and Fort Nelson Portsmouth
Tues 15th Sept AGM and Talk
Converting 160 tons of WW2 concrete into a 6 bedroom floating home.
Field Place