British aircraft designer.
Sydney Camm was born August 5th 1893 in Windsor, England, where he grew up in number 10 Alma Road. His father was an excellent carpenter, and at age 14 he and his brother Fred supplied an Eton model aeroplane shop with wooden aeroplane models that "would really fly". Young Sydney had a keen interest in aviation and founded the Windsor Model Aeroplane Club while still in school.
During the first world war he worked for the Martinsydes Aeroplane Company as a woodworker. There, he assisted the designwork of one of the leading aircraft designers of the time; G. H. Handasyde.
In 1923 Camm joined up with the Hawker Engineering Company, which was the successor of the rather legendary Sopwith Aviation Company Ltd. In 1925 he was appointed Chief Designer and stayed with Hawker until he died in 1966.
In 1934, Camm began work on what was to become the famous Hawker Hurricane single-seat, monoplane fighter. The inspiration for this came from the Air Ministry who were in need of a new fighter. Sydney Camm's Hurricane was accepted by the Air Ministry, and by august 1940, more than 2300 Hurricanes had been delivered to the Royal Air Force. During the Battle of Britain, Hurricanes shot down more German aircraft than all the other British types combined. Still, the Supermarine Spitfire tends to get all the spotlight whenever RAF's finest hour is mentioned.
During World War II, Camm also designed the Hawker Typhoon and the Hawker Tempest fighters. After the war he was responsible for aircraft like the Hawker Sea Hawk, the classic Hawker Hunter and the predecessor to the VTOL Hawker Harrier, the P.1127 Kestrel.
Although he had no formal scientific training, Camm had an eye for good aircraft design. This made him more of a perfectionist than an innovator, and every Camm design has elements logically evolved from its predecessor.
In 1949, Sydney Camm was awarded the British Gold Medal for Aeronautics and four years later he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth. In 1954 he was elected president of the Royal Aeronautical Society. In 1966. he posthumously received the highest American aeronautical award; the Guggenheim Gold Medal.
Sydney Camm died at the age of 72 in Richmond, Surrey, England. He was still a member of the Hawker Siddeley Aviation board when he died. A part of the RAF museum in Colindale is set apart for Sydney Camm's designs and his memory.