Impossible Engineering

Aircraft Carrier

Series 1 - Episode 1 Aircraft Carrier



A shouty series on engineering opens with a look at HMS Queen Elizabeth, a new aircraft carrier, which, as the programme never tires of boasting, is very big indeed. A “floating goliath”, it has four acres of UK territory that can be deployed anywhere in the world – or will when it is finished. (There’s no mention here of the spiralling cost of the project – from £3.2 billion to an estimated £6 billion.)

The doc charts the history of each design element from the ship’s turbine engines to the vertical take-off fighters it will carry, with an intriguing footnote on the short-lived Convair Pogo – a sweet-looking aircraft that took off and landed on its tail.


The history of pioneering modern-day mega structures, revealing that behind every seemingly impossible marvel of modern engineering is a cast of historic trailblazing engineers who designed new building techniques, took risks on untested materials and revolutionised their field. The first programme focuses on the aircraft carrier.