Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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FIDO

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The F.I.D.O. (Fog Investigation and Dispersal Operation) system was developed during WWII for dispersing fog from an airfield so that aircraft could land safely. The idea came from Arthur Clifford Hartley, chief engineer of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Co.

It was developed at the department of chemical engineering of the University of Birmingham. The invention of FIDO was formally attributed to Dr John David Main-Smith, a Principal Scientific Officer of the Chemistry Department of the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough, together with the department head at Birmingham, Dr Ramsbottom.

The system consisted of pipelines along each side of the runway through which fuel (usually petrol from the airfield's own fuel dump) was pumped; burner jets were positioned at intervals along the pipelines, producing walls of flame. When fog prevented Allied aircraft from locating their runways to land, they would be diverted to FIDO-equipped aerodromes, as were damaged bombers.

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