The late John Seddon was a research scientist at the Royal Aircraft Establishment and then Director-General in the UK Ministry of Defence. He later became a consultant to Westland Helicopters.

Simon Newman attended Grammar School in Farnborough near the site of the Royal Aircraft Establishment. He then read mathematics at the University of Southampton, graduating in 1970. Continuing the aircraft theme, he then began a career in helicopter aerodynamics, dynamics and design for the next 41 years. Starting at Westland Helicopters, at Yeovil, Somerset, in 1970 he worked in the Aerodynamics Research Department on rotors systems, performance and aeromechanics. After a year back at Southampton in 1974, where he obtained an MSc in Aeronautics, he returned to Yeovil to work in the Aerodynamics and Dynamics Departments on rotor aerodynamics, blade behaviour and shipborne operations. He was in the Technical Office during the Falklands War, contributing to the technical backup. In 1985 he returned to Southampton as a member of academic staff, reaching the grade of Reader in 2007. His research interests have concentrated on shipborne operations, blade sailing in particular, for which he obtained his doctorate in 1995. Other research has focused on the vortex ring state and the tumble behaviour of microlight aircraft. He has several hobbies, principally photogra­phy and golf. Apart from his academic duties, he is also an Esquire Bedell of the University, carrying the mace at graduation ceremonies.

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