Bennett Melvill Jones

In 1929, Melvill Jones presented his paper entitled ‘The streamline airplane’ to the Royal Aeronautical Society. This paper marked the turning point in the practice of aerodynamics in the age of the propellor driven plane.

He showed clearly the difference in performance that might be expected by streamlining, and defined the perfectly streamlined plane. The aspect of Jones’s paper that most shocked the designers of the time was his plot of the horse power required versus velocity, for an actual and an ideal plane. By looking at a data point for a given aircraft and extrapolating it horizontally to the ideal curve, the velocity gain for the same power can be seen.

Graph: Horse power vs Velocity

Graph of horse power versus velocity for an actual and ideal plane

When Jones finished his presentation, a member of the audience described the results as being of the same level of importance as the Carnot cycle in thermodynamics.