The Late David J. Farrar

O.B.E., M.A., C.Eng., F.R.Ae.S., Hon F.I.E.D.

We have just learnt that our Honorary President sadly died at his home in Australia on 16 April 2021.

David was an English engineer who led the Bristol team that developed the Bristol Bloodhound surface-to-air missile, which defended Britain’s nuclear deterrent for many years and was widely sold abroad. His main achievements in cost engineering were confidential until 2000. He saved two companies from bankruptcy, achieved cost reductions of over £1 million, and trained engineers in cost engineering. []

David was a superb engineer and had a great deal to say in his latter years about the way the GW business had been run and was enthusiastic about getting the business properly recognised at the Aerospace Bristol museum; sadly he was unsuccessful with the latter. A number of his papers can be found on our web site at

In summary, from our site, his achievements included:

1.    The correct siting of engines on civil aircraft.
2.    Giving staff the skills the project needs.
3.    Faster development through mutual criticism.
4.    Saving the Bristol Aircraft Corporation from bankruptcy.
5.    Last and First.
6.    Becoming Transportable.
7.    Rapid creation of Bloodhound 2.
8.    Joining British Aircraft Corporation.
9.    Creation of the Guided Weapons Division.
10.  Spending of Bloodhound profits.
11.  Origins of the Rapier missile.
12.  On time, on cost.
13.  Cost reductions needed now, available now.
14.  Process Control by digital computer.
15.  Reducing overspent and delayed projects.
16.  Billion pounds cost saving at Rolls Royce Bristol.
17.  Concorde: no buyers, no profit.
18.  Getting Space Shuttle right.
19.  Cost reduction through design.

David really was a one-off in terms of his working life and was also highly enthusiastic, and appreciative, about our project. It should be clear why we asked him to be our figure head ; we are unlikely to be able to replace him.

Mike Strange

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