Peter Eveleigh


The Democratisation of Private Flight


In a world which invests heavily in military technologies and in those which will bring a high commercial return, to what extent has the aeroplane been made accessible to the ordinary person, whose primary purpose in flying it is to have fun? My thesis explores the change in public discourse around the funding, regulation and innovation of flight, from a time when government encouraged an expectation that soon everyone would have an aeroplane in the garage, to one in which the attitude of the authorities would be perfunctory at best, at times hostile, but would increasingly regard the interests of ordinary people who flew as irrelevant. Once private pilots were no longer to be of use as a stand-by for a now-jet-age air-force, subsidies for private flight ended and flying, always expensive, again became the preserve of the well-off. If they were to be affordable for everyone, flying machine technologies would have to be found which would be economical, and there needed to be a sea-change in the way that flight would be regulated, in order to balance public safety with innovation and freedom to fly.


I took my MSc DIC in the History of Technology at Imperial College under David Edgerton in 1997. My dissertation was on the effects of the rubber shortage, after the fall of Malaya, on the production of condoms – and the resulting effects on venereal prophylaxis and the incidence of VD in the civilian population during WW2.

After a couple of decades as a primary special needs teacher, I am now a welder/ fabricator / handyman. I fly gyroplanes and microlights.


Last year I become an Associate Editor of the Journal of Aeronautical History.

My first chapter is to be presented on a panel at OCOHTEC in Eindhoven this summer and is due to form part of a peer reviewed collaborative publication later in the year.

In November I passed my Continuation Viva.


I am a split-site, part-time student. I am supervised by Simone Turchetti (University of Manchester) and Guy Gratton (School of Aerospace, Transport and Manufacturing, Cranfield University)