Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Capt Charles R. Hall

Chuck Hall, call sign 'Odin', retired as an international airline captain, flying Boeing 747's, and now has over 30,000 hours of flight time to his credit. His professional career began as a 19 year old airline pilot flying the North Pacific between Alaska and Japan. During his airline career he rose to Vice President of Operations for a major U.S. air carrier. He was Chief Pilot on the L-1011 program for the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, during which time he was elected to membership in the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. He graduated first in his class as an Army Aviator and spent his military career flying helicopters.  He is a graduate of the University of Alaska. Over a span of almost 20 years he participated in the Reno Air Races as an unlimited class race pilot flying various P-51 Mustangs. He won several races and was always a top contender. Today, he is very active in the civilian warbird community and is qualified in many of the former military fighter aircraft in civilian inventory. As a member of the Air Force Heritage Flight Demonstration Team he participates regularly in air shows nation wide with his personal P-51 Mustang
On May 25, 1972, veteran test pilots Anthony LeVier and Charles Hall transported 115 crew members, employees, and reporters on a 4-hour, 13- minute flight from Palmdale, California, to Dulles Airport outside Washington, D.C., with the TriStar’s AFCS feature engaged from takeoff roll to landing. It was a groundbreaking moment: the first cross-country flight without the need for human hands on the controls. Fly-by-wire technology was here to stay.

In August 1972, the TriStar arrived at Luton on August 12 for demonstration to Court Line and Britannia. British Caledonian, British Midland, Dan-Air.The airlines had a chance to inspect the aircraft during flights planned from Gatwick on August 17 and Heathrow the following day. The following week the TriStar left for a tour of Ireland, Denmark, Germany and the Near and Middle East which took the aircraft as far as India before returning to the United Kingdom at the beginning of September for the Farnborough airshow.

Lt.Col Michael V Love 1938-1976

 Colonel Michael V. Love in front of the X-24B  research aircraft at Edwards Air Base in 1976. The X-24B was a wingless aircraft designed to test theories for development of space ships that could be flown into space and the land back on Earth. His efforts helped the development of the Space Shuttle program.
Air Force Lt Col Michael Love was born September 26, 1938.   He was a test pilot for a joint NASA-USAF flight test program at the NASA Flight Research Center and test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base in California. He was a combat veteran of the Vietnam War and was awarded the distinguished Flying Cross with two Oak Leaf Clusters.  He perished in the line of duty while attempting an emergency landing in an RF-4C on Rogers dry lake bed on March 1, 1976.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Peter Chandler

First Flight crew of the A350XWB, L-R, Guy Magrin, Emanuele Costanzo, Peter Chandler, Patrick Du Che, Fernando Alonso, Pascal Vernau

As a teenager, he joined a local Air Cadets programme and had the opportunity to fly light aircraft. Later, he flew more regularly as he studied aeronautical engineering at Southampton University in England. After receiving his degree, he joined the Royal Air Force in 1975, where he principally flew ground-attack aircraft. Wanting to become a test pilot, he applied for and was accepted into the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base in California. After graduation, Peter spent the rest of his RAF career as a test pilot and instructor.
Leaving the RAF in 1994, Peter went to work as a commercial airline pilot specialising in long-haul flights on Airbus A340s. He joined Airbus as a test pilot in 2000.The chief test pilot for Airbus’ civil programmes since 2008, Peter was deeply involved in the development and testing of the A380, just as he has been for the A350 XWB.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Ken Higgins 1942-2013

Ken Higgins rose through the ranks since joining the Boeing company in 1966 as a flight test engineer, Higgins retired  as vice president of flight operations and validation for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, a role he had for a full decade.

 He was on the flight deck for the first flights of the 737-400, -500 and 747-400, and made the first flight of the 737-700 with Mike Hewitt and 777-200 with John Cashman. He was responsible for the test organisations with BCA from 1996, including a workforce of around 150 pilots and some 1,500 engineers and technicians. Since 1987 Higgins also served as director of flight testing, and had overseen all major new certification efforts from the 747-400 onwards.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Felix Baumgartner 1969-

Felix Baumgartner is an Austrian skydiver, daredevil and BASE jumper. He set the world record for skydiving an estimated 39 kilometres, reaching an estimated speed of 1357.64 km/h, or Mach 1.25, on 14 October 2012, and became the first person to break the sound barrier without vehicular power on his descent. He is also renowned for the particularly dangerous nature of the stunts he has performed during his career. Baumgartner spent time in the Austrian Military where he practiced parachute jumping, including training to land on small target zones.

William 'Bill' T. Quinlan

Bell's first turbine helicopter, the XH-13F, took to the sky on October 20, 1954, with test pilot Bill Quinlan at the controls, Bell test pilot Bill Quinlan accomplished the first, dynamically stable, full conversion to airplane mode of the Bell XV-3 on 6 January 1959.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

David W. Schwartz

David W. Schwartz has been involved with experimental and certification flight-testing since 1983 with the Piper Aircraft Company. As the Chief of Engineering Flight Test he has the responsibility of overseeing Piper’s engineering and production flight test departments. During his career he has accomplished first flights on 6 Piper model aircraft. In July of 2008 he had the privilege of accomplishing the first flight of Piper’s single engine jet entry into the very light jet market, the Piper Jet. He has played a major roll on the Piper Jet program to correct longitudinal control issues associated with the high thrust line of the engine due to its location on the vertical tail. Since then, he has accomplished all envelope expansion testing, which has included; flutter, high angle of attack, stability and controllability and engine development.

He has lead the certification effort for several Piper models, in which he accomplished all stability and control, handling qualities, high angle of attack, flutter, spin testing and performance validation required for Federal Aviation Administration certification.

In the late 1980’s he worked closely with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration on the investigation of in-flight breakups of the popular Piper Malibu aircraft. During this investigation he accomplished all flight-testing required by the NTSB and FAA to prove the structural integrity of the Piper Malibu / Mirage. Testing consisted of check and un-checked maneuvers, autopilot validation, and aircraft pitch controllability due to longitudinal trim run away. Due to this flight- testing, the Piper Malibu / Mirage was shown to meet and exceed all structural requirements required by the Federal Aviation Administration.

When Piper Aircraft was working closely with international airlines to provide primary multi-engine trainers, a requirement to establish accelerate-go / stop procedures and performance information was required. Mr. Schwartz led a team to determine the safety impact and accomplished all testing to providing this information for a multi-engine aircraft with limited single engine climb capability.  

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

S/Ldr Richard Vivian Muspratt DFC 1917-2009

R.V.Muspratt - 2nd row from back, 2nd from right
Richard Vivian Muspratt was born the son of an Indian Army major in 1917 and educated at Oundle, which he left in 1935 to take a diploma at Chelsea College of Aeronautical Engineering.
He had just emerged with a first-class pass when the war broke out and he enlisted in the RAF, to be commissioned in 1940. After a first posting to 53 (Army Co-operation) Squadron, he was posted in 1941 to 140 Squadron, where he embarked on a series of reconnaissance sorties, mainly taking photographs of French harbours from an altitude of just under 30,000ft.
On one occasion, in May 1942, while photographing the docks at Cherbourg, he was intercepted by a Focke-Wulf Fw190, a fighter that had demonstrated its superiority over the Spitfire when it had first come into action the previous year.
Having obtained his photographs Muspratt put his Spitfire into a steep diving turn which prevented the Fw190 from getting on to his tail at close range. He then used the PR Spitfire’s just superior speed to draw steadily away during a chase that lasted for 30 miles, with the despairing German pilot firing bursts at him from 600 yards astern as he drew away. “Chalk one up to the hare!” he recorded in his log book on landing later that day.
Among Muspratt’s most important sorties were the two that he flew over Dieppe on August 5 and 6, 1942. His large-scale photographs were to be part of a valuable intelligence resource for what nevertheless turned out to be the disastrous Dieppe raid of August 19, which at least demonstrated conclusively that an assault on a heavily defended harbour town could be no blueprint for any serious Allied landings on the German-occupied littoral (and when they eventually came in June 1944 it was over open beaches).
On being rested from operations Muspratt was awarded the DFC for his skill and leadership as a flight commander. The citation noted: “He never hesitates to undertake a difficult operational task himself rather than detail a less experienced pilot.”
In 1943 Air Marshal Sir Ralph Sorley, the controller of research and development, became increasingly concerned by the rising number of fatalities in test flying and a lack of standardisation of flying techniques. The result was the founding of the Empire Test Pilot’s Training School at Boscombe Down for whose No 1 course Muspratt was selected. He was its last survivor.
On passing through the school and being promoted to squadron leader he was invited to join Hawker, then developing a new generation of powerful piston-engined fighters, the Tempest and the Fury (and Sea Fury). Muspratt flew intensive testing flights in these superlative aircraft — the ultimate expression of the piston-engined fighter — with various weapon loads. With its level-flight top speed of 450mph the Tempest was to become highly effective in the role of intercepting V1 rockets, while the Navy’s Sea Fury, flew right through the Korean War where it scored a number of combat victories over the Russian MiG15. It served with the Royal Navy until it was replaced by the turbojet Sea Hawk.
After leaving Hawker in 1948 Muspratt joined the Ferguson tractor company and spent 13 years in Australia, where he greatly boosted the firm’s sales. Back in the UK after 1960, he bought and ran a business at Leamington Spa, Witney Welding and Engineering, which he ran until his final retirement in 1985.
Times Obituary

Monday, December 02, 2013

F.Doug Adkins

 Doug Adkins Canadair Chief Test Pilot
 Doug Adkins was experimental test pilot for both the CL-215 and CL-415
CF-VTO-X, the CL-84 prototype first flew in hover on 7 May 1965, flown by Canadair Chief Pilot Bill Longhurst. On 12 September 1967, after 305 relatively uneventful flights, CF-VTO-X was at 3,000 ft when a bearing in the propeller control system failed. Both pilot and observer successfully ejected but the prototype was lost. Canadair redesigned its replacement, the CL-84-1 incorporating over 150 engineering changes including the addition of dual controls, upgraded avionics, an airframe stretch 1.60 m longer and more powerful engines.
The first newly designed CL-84-1 (CX8401) flew on 19 February 1970 with Bill Longhurst again at the controls. He continued with the CL-84 program until his retirement from active flying in January 1971. Doug Adkins then assumed the role of chief test pilot. At about the same time, at the height of the Vietnam War, the US Navy expressed interest in the concept. Atkins was dispatched on a cross-country tour that took a CL-84-1 to Washington D.C (landing on the White House lawn),Norfolk,VA and Edwards AFB,eventually full-blown trials on the USS Guam. The CL-84-1 performed flawlessly, demonstrating versatility in a wide range of onboard roles, including troop deployment, radar surveillance and anti-submarine warfare.

The Canadair Regional Jet prototype, RJ70001/C-FCRJ, was formally rolled out at the Canadair facility at Montreal/Dorval airport on 6 May, less than 17 months after first metal was cut, and only four days later, at 0945 hrs on 10 May the aircraft was airborne on its first flight.Piloted by Canadair chief test pilot and director of flight operations Doug Adkins,the inaugural flight lasted 1 hr 25 mins. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Col (Ret) Stanley E. Boyd

Stanley E Boyd was an engineering test pilot for the USAF and NASA

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Jean Caillard 1923-

Saturday, October 12, 2013

John Cashman 1944-

John Cashman grew up near a Naval air station in Illinois. His father flew planes in the 1930s before becoming a college physics professor. He was in the seventh grade when he took his first airplane ride, from Chicago to Atlanta, in an Eastern Airlines Constellation.

Later, Cashman wanted to become a military pilot, but his eyesight was not perfect so he went to the University of Michigan to study aerospace engineering. There, he joined the school's flying club, eventually becoming president. He received his private pilot's license in 1965.

When he graduated in 1966, the aerospace business was booming and Cashman had job offers from seven companies, including Boeing.  He took the Boeing job in Seattle in July that year. At Boeing, Cashman initially worked as a structural engineer but continued his flying with the Boeing Flying Club. His big break came in 1974, when he was hired as a flight engineer for Boeing's 747SP (special performance) program. "I never thought when I came to Boeing I would be a pilot," Cashman said. Typically, Boeing pilots had come out of the military.

In the years that followed, Cashman participated in a number of Boeing flight-test programs and in 1989 was named chief pilot for the 767 and 767X programs. The 767X became the 777. He made the first flight of the 777 on June 12th 1994. He and co-pilot Ken Higgins flew the 777 for three hours and 48 minutes -- Boeing's longest ever first flight for one of its new jetliners.

Jack Russell

Jack Russell (left) with Jack Woolams
Jack Russell (centre front)

John P 'Jack' Reeder 1916-1999

John P. “Jack” Reeder was born May 27, 1916, in Houghton, Michigan. His aviation career started in the 1930s at the University of Michigan.  Upon graduation in 1938, he went to work for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory, where he was assigned to the Full-Scale Wind Tunnel staff.  In 1939, he received his CAA Private Pilot License.  In August 1942 Jack was recommended for in-house flight training, and then transferred to the Flight Operations Branch where he flew and conducted tests on many of the latest Navy and Army fighters and bombers, and other NACA modified airplanes.  In 1944, Jack became NACA’s first helicopter test pilot.  Jack is best known for his pioneering work in establishing basic flying qualities requirements for helicopters and later V/STOL vehicles.  In 1962 he was invited to England to fly and evaluate the forerunner of the Harrier jet VTOL fighter under the NATO Mutual Weapons Development Program.  In 1964 he was selected to a joint German, U.K., and U.S. team to evaluate the P-1127 Kestrel.  During his 42 years of service, including 38 years on flight status, Jack flew 235 different types of aircraft including 38 jet planes, 40 fighters, 16 rotary-wing, and eight VTOL aircraft.  Jack authored or co-authored 78 NACA/NASA Technical Reports.  He received many honors and awards for his test piloting accomplishments and leadership.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

LaVerne "Brownie" Browne

LaVerne "Brownie" Browne was the Director of Flight Test at the Douglas Aircraft Company’s Naval Aircraft Factory at El Segundo, Calif.The first XBT2D-1 (Bu No 09085) made its maiden flight from Mines Field, CA on March 18, 1945, with Douglas test pilot LaVerne "Brownie" Browne

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Joseph E 'Joe' Barton xxxx-1946

Joe Barton flew several  maiden flights for  North American.

The XB-28, XB-28A (As co-pilot), XB-25E Mitchell, NA-98X and the XP-82 Twin Mustang on 16th June 1945. He was killed in a crash of a modified CB-25J into the Pacific ocean NW of Santa Monica on the 27th February 1946.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

David Mackay AFC 1957-

David started flying in 1977 whilst studying Aeronautical Engineering at Glasgow University. After graduating he joined the RAF and flew the Harrier GR3 in Germany before being selected for test pilot training in 1986, as an exchange student with the French school. In 1987 he was posted to the Fixed Wing Test Squadron at Boscombe Down, where he carried out some of the first trials flights on the Harrier GR7, Sea Harrier FA2 and Tucano basic trainer. He became Officer Commanding Fast Jet Test Flight in 1992 and in the same year was awarded the Air Force Cross for his work there.
In 1993 he became an instructor at the Empire Test Pilots’ School, becoming Principal Fixed Wing Tutor in 1994. In 1995 he retired from the RAF and joined Virgin Atlantic, becoming a captain on the Boeing 747 in 1999 and later on the Airbus 340. 
David became involved in the Virgin Galactic project soon after its inception, having flown the Spaceship One flight simulator. In 2009 he joined the team full time as its test pilot, and becoming Chief Pilot in 2011.

Rex Shilton 1926-2009

Rex Shilton was born on June 10 1926 at Nottingham and educated locally before joining the RAF in 1942, when he was 16, to train as a radio mechanic.

In 1947 he was selected for pilot training and went on to join No 9 Squadron to fly the Lincoln, a four-engine bomber derived from the wartime Lancaster.
After conversion to the Canberra jet bomber and service with No 100 Squadron, he was approached by Rolls-Royce. After service in the RAF, Shilton joined Rolls-Royce's engine division as a test pilot in late 1954.
On May 15 1956 he was conducting engine development trials on the Avon engine when he experienced a major malfunction that left him well within his rights to eject from the aircraft. He elected to remain at the controls, however, and performed an emergency landing back at Hucknall.

By saving his aircraft he enabled the engineers to identify the fault and design an engine modification. It was an act of courage which, he commented philosophically in later years, had probably enhanced his pension by only a few pence.

During three years with Rolls-Royce he flew 22 different aircraft types, including the Lancastrian, Spitfire, Canberra, Hunter and the engine test rig called the Thrust Measuring Rig (TMR) – better known as "The Flying Bedstead" – which was used to develop the vertical thrust technology to power the Harrier.

In 1958 he joined the Silver City Group ferrying aircraft to customers in India and South America before taking up the routine of flying passengers around the north of England from the Blackpool base, piloting such classics of the British aircraft industry as the de Havilland Heron and the Bristol Freighter.
In 1960 Shilton was seconded to Handley Page to participate in sales demonstration tours of the new Herald airliner in hotly-contested sales drives against Fokker's F27 Friendship.
One tour involved a nine-hour transit from West Africa to Brazil. Shilton put in some sterling performances flying in to and out of tiny and ill-equipped airfields where large crowds gathered to witness the sight of such large aircraft taking off and landing.
The Handley Page and Rolls-Royce sales reps accompanying Shilton were keen to demonstrate the take-off performance of the RR Dart turboprop engines – and he was happy to oblige, his party trick being to cut an engine, sometimes before becoming airborne, and continue to climb away. It never failed to impress.
Shilton was to remain with Silver City and its successor companies, ultimately British Caledonian Airways, for 30 years retiring just before its takeover by British Airways in 1987. He specialised in technical matters and crew training, flying as an instructor pilot on almost all of the aircraft operated by those companies: Vickers Viscount, BAC 1-11, Boeing 707 and McDonnell Douglas DC10.
At the retirement age of 60, Shilton was not ready to hang up his headset and immediately joined Connectair, a small airline based at Gatwick. He effortlessly made the transition to the Shorts 330 "Shed" – flying passengers by day, and mail and newspapers by night.
He probably worked harder, longer and less comfortable hours than at any time in his career, but took evident pleasure in giving many new pilots their apprenticeship in the business.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

George Pickering 19xx-1943

George Pickering was awarded a short service commission in the RAF in 1924 and became a flying boat test pilot based at Felixstowe. He flew an array of aircraft from flying boats to Nimrods to Audaxes and to the Walrus.  He had also served a good stint on Malta, flying out of the old sea-plane base at Kalafrana. He was awarded the Air Force Cross for a “dramatic” rescue by flying boat.

His short service commission ended early in 1934 by which time he had reached the rank of Flight Lieutenant. Later in the same year he became a test pilot for Supermarine which had become a subsidiary of Vickers in 1928.
With Supermarine he test-flew flying boats which were built at Woolston and it was from here that he looped a Walrus, probably over the Solent. Although the Walrus had quite an ungainly appearance, it was remarkably aerobatic.
George Pickering first flew the propotype Spitfire (K5054) on 24th March 1936, it had first flown on 5th March 1936 . The only other pilots who had flown it before George were chief test pilot “Mutt” Summers ans deputy chief Test pilot Jeffrey Quill.
In 1941 the Spitfire he was testing broke up around him throwing him out of the cockpit. His parachute which had benn damaged remarkably open of its own accord and slowed down his descent which was further slowed down by the branches of a tree. He was badly injured and spent many months in hospital and he was grounded for almost a year. Finally he was called to attend a medical board at Oxford. and was declared fit to resume flying duties. That evening he spent with his sister who lived nearby and happened to meet some army officers who were on exercise in the area. Forming a friendship with the officers, he was invited to join them the following day. This he did and was a passenger in a Bren gun carrier but was tragically killed when the vehicle vehicle failed to negotiate a steep slope at Ivinghoe Beacon and overturned.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Bud Scouten

Canadair Test Pilot Bud Scouten

R M 'Bill' Kidd

Canadair Test Pilot, Bill Kidd

Arthur George 'Tim' Sims 1907-1986

Arthur Sims was born in London in 1907 and went to Canada in 1927.He spent the next four years in the employment of Canadian Wright Ltd. and British Aeroplane Engines Ltd. at Montreal. He assembled, overhauled and tested engines and later became a technical representative. His extensive knowledge of low temperature engines placed him as a mechanic, along with W.R. May, on the 1600 inaugural airmail flight from Fort McMurray, AB, to Aklavik on the Arctic Ocean in 1929. During WWII, he flew military aircraft across the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. In addition, he also flew a 40,000 mile demonstration flight of North and South America as captain of a Bristol Freighter aircraft. After the war he was employed as a sales representative for Canadair Ltd. where he test flew the North Star, Sabre and T-33 aircraft. He became director of world-wide military aircraft sales until his retirement from the company in 1964.

Alexander 'Al' J. Lilly OC 1910-2008

Alexander John Lilly was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan in 1910.He was a son to Harold Lilly, owner of an automotive and farm equipment dealership that specialized in Ford automobiles. Through his dad’s business, Al came in contact with the RCMP who used the dealership to service their vehicles. It must have been an indelible impression, for Al eventually enlisted in 1932. It was with the RCMP that Lilly’s early affection for aviation, first ignited as a boy when he had encountered ace pilots of the First World War, could finally be realized as a career path rather than just a passion or a hobby. It wasn’t until 1937 that Lilly requested permission to take flying lessons and petitioned to join the Aviation Section the following year. He was a strong advocate for advancing aviation in policing having seen first hand the limitations of dog-sled teams and the canoe and recognized that planes could better serve the North. Although flying during his brief career with the RCMP was the catalyst to greater accomplishments in aviation, Al Lilly’s tenure was best acclaimed for encouraging canine services in policing. As the story goes, Al’s dog, Prince, joined him on a search for a missing trapper and, in the course of the rescue effort, Prince was able to find shelter from the encroaching poor weather for both Al and the found trapper. Al instinctively knew there was value in K-9 skills and shared this insight with the RCMP. By 1935, the police dog-handling services were officially formed and Al was one of the first to be assigned his own dog, a German shepherd named Black Lux. The two formed a fond friendship.

It seems apparent that when your dreams to fly are as strong as Al’s, leaving the RCMP behind for Great Britain was the only course of action. And so, Lilly purchased his discharge in July 1939 and set forth to fly with Imperial Airways.The jump to Imperial Airways proved to be that crucial stepping stone to a long and varied four-decade-long career in aviation. With the outbreak of war in 1939, the RCAF drafted Al Lilly as a Squadron Leader bringing him back to Moncton, New Brunswick, home of the active Moncton Flying Club, where he taught new pilots under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. He would go on to fly throughout the war period including, in 1940, with Atlantic Ferry Organization (ATFERO) out of Montreal, transporting equipment and planes across the Atlantic. It was in this role that he received a commendation from the King of England for delivering the first six Hudson twin-engine bombers to Britain. By the end of the war, Al had been appointed as Chief Test Pilot by the Atlantic Ferry Organization which became RAF Ferry Command in 1941.Following the war, Al Lilly joined Canadair and was instrumental in positioning the aircraft manufacturer as one of the largest producers of aircraft in the world - a distinction that gave Canada much notoriety during the Cold War era. There, he would command the initial flights of a wide variety if aircraft from the 4-engined North Star aircraft airliner to the various models of Sabre (F-86).During his 30 years with Canadair, he rose to the position of Vice President before retiring in 1970.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

James Gibson 'Mac' McCowan 19xx-2003


 J. G. 'Mac' McCowan joined the RAF as a Boy Entrant and in 1938 volunteered for flying duties. He did his flying training in Canada and returned to England in 1943. Serving in India and Singapore, he flew with a fighter squadron on the North-West Frontier and later became a rocket-firing instructor. After leaving the Service, he was a maintenance test pilot with Airwork before joining Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft as a test pilot.

A/Cdre Cyril 'Cyclops' Brown AFC CBE 1921-2003

Cyril Bob Brown was born on January 17 1921 and educated at Southend Grammar School. He joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve in 1939 as a sergeant, completing his pilot training in time to join the Hurricane-equipped 245 Squadron in the latter stages of the Battle of Britain.

Based in the Orkneys, his squadron flew patrols in protection of the Grand Fleet at Scapa Flow. He was commissioned in 1941 and joined 616, flying patrols over the Midlands until he was wounded.
Brown was serving with 616 (South Yorkshire) Squadron when he was scrambled on May 25 1942 to intercept a German bomber approaching Leicester. Although he managed to achieve cannon strikes on a Dornier 217, his Spitfire was hit by return fire from the bomber's rear gunner. As the windscreen shattered, Brown was hit in the face by splinters, causing severe damage to his right eye.

Notwithstanding his wounds, he was able to struggle back to his airfield near Peterborough, where he landed safely before staggering to the control tower to report to his station commander, Group Captain Basil Embry; he explained that he had experienced "a bit of a problem" before collapsing. Brown was then placed on a stretcher but, as the party descended the stairs, he fell off and tumbled to the bottom. He later claimed that this was the most frightening aspect of the whole event.

Surgeons were unable to save Brown's eye, and after his wounds healed he was fitted with a clear blue false eye. The effect of a boisterous night out was that the colour no longer matched his remaining eye, in which case he would remove the false one, invite someone to "keep an eye on it", and place a black patch over the socket. Later he adopted the patch permanently.

Although medical staff wanted to ground him, Brown was able to display all his old piloting skills when he flew with Group Captain Embry, who immediately cleared him to return to operations as a fighter pilot. Once he had become fully fit again, Brown had a further spell on operations before joining the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment at Boscombe Down as a fighter weapons test pilot.Since using the gun sights of fighters required binocular vision, he specialised in flying and testing the Typhoon and Tempest aircraft in the ground attack role. He commanded the Fixed Gun Firing Flight and became an expert in rocket-firing.

On one occasion Brown almost shot himself down when a rocket struck the ground, and the subsequent ricochet hit his Typhoon. After three years of test flying he was awarded the AFC.

After attending No 5 Course at the Empire Test Pilots' School, Brown returned to Boscombe Down to test fighter aircraft, including the new jets, before being appointed to command 220 Squadron flying Shackleton maritime patrol aircraft from St Eval in Cornwall.

He resumed his test piloting career in 1956 when he became a senior instructor at the Empire Test Pilots' School, which had relocated to Farnborough.

On one occasion he gathered together a one-armed colleague and another with a broken leg, and - with Brown sporting his eye patch at a jaunty angle - the trio hobbled arm-in-arm into the officers' mess bar to announce to the new students that they were the staff running the test pilots' course.

In 1958 Brown took command of D (Helicopter) Squadron at Boscombe Down. In August 1960 the new twin-rotor Bristol 192 helicopter, later known as the Belvedere, was due to fly to Idris, in Libya, for hot weather trials. He decided to use the transit flight to establish a long-distance helicopter record.

Setting off from Gatwick in the early hours of the morning, Brown and his crew arrived on Malta just over 12 hours later, after stopping twice to refuel en-route. The record still stands.

Promoted to group captain, Brown took command of the V-bomber airfield at Waddington, near Lincoln, in 1963. The three Vulcan squadrons he commanded formed part of Britain's strategic nuclear deterrent and were frequently tested to respond to no-notice dispersal and scramble exercises. He regularly flew the four-engine bomber, and his piloting skills were readily apparent; but, as one colleague recalled, Brown was never able to learn how to park his staff car without colliding with the steps.

It was during his appointment in command at Waddington that Brown learned that the last airworthy Lancaster was due to be retired to a museum. The engineers of one of his squadrons suggested that they should collect the bomber from Cranfield and fly it to Waddington, where they would maintain it in a flying condition. Brown was full of enthusiasm for the idea.

Although he incurred much displeasure from higher authority, the Lancaster was restored and subsequently became the flagship of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight; it still graces the skies.

Brown was promoted to Air Commodore to take up the post of Commandant at the Air Warfare College, where he continued to remain in flying practice.

After spending three years as the Director of Flight Safety in London, he decided to retire in 1972 in order to pursue business interests and his passion for yachting.

Arthur Roy 'Barny' Barnard 1922-1998

Arthur Barnard joined Rolls-Royce, Ltd., in 1952. Served in R.A.F. from 1942 and transferred to F.A.A. in 1944, training on Corsairs. Served in Far East until 1946 and later joined 800 Sqn. on four-year extended commission. Recalled for 18 months during Korean war and qualified then as B.I instructor, C.F.S.

Monday, February 25, 2013

John M. 'Jack' Conroy 1920-1979

Born in Buffalo, NY in 1920 and later attended high school in Sand Springs, OK. Upon graduation he hitched a ride on a freight train to Hollywood, CA, where he landed bit parts in movies during the years of 1937-1940 under the screen name of Michael Conroy, since John Conroy was taken.In 1940, against the advice of his agent who said "the big parts are coming", he hopped a freighter to Honolulu, HI, where he learned to fly and made his first solo flight in 1940.

He was working at Pearl Harbor as a civilian digging underground fuel tanks on Sunday 7th December 1941. After witnessing the Japanese attack he immediately enlisted in the Army Air Corp. He was part of the 379th bombardment group of the Eight Air Force, out of Kimbolton, England during WWII. In 1942, just months past his 21st birthday, became a 2nd Lieutenant, pilot of a B-17 Flying Fortress and put in charge of a 9-man crew. After training in the U.S., he flew his B-17 across the North Atlantic and eventually racked up 19 missions over Germany. On his 19th mission on November 30, 1944, his aircraft was shot down over German farmland. After his crew bailed out he was blown out of the aircraft. He parachuted, dislocated shoulder and broke right arm, was captured and made a prisoner of war at Stalag North 3 on the Baltic until the end of the war.

He remained on active duty with the USAF until 1948, serving as a special air mission pilot and as an instructor in a Reserve Training Unit. Following an honorable discharge from the service, he spent 12 years as an airline pilot. After returning from the war, he continued to fly with non-scheduled airlines and joined the Air National Guard in Van Nuys, CA. On May 21, 1955, Jack, then a 1st Lt attached to the 115th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, California ANG completed "Operation Boomerang" world record. This involved flying coast-to-coast and return in one day during daylight hours. He flew an F-86A Sabre from San Fernando Valley Airport in Van Nuys, California to Floyd Bennett Field, New York with return using fuel stops both ways. A decade later in 1965, Jack Conroy with co-pilot Clay Lacy achieved another record breaking flight in a Learjet. Operation "Sunrise Sunset" completed a round-trip flight from Los Angeles to New York and back, and the flight marked the first time a business jet made a round-trip flight across the U.S. between sunrise and sunset on the same day.

 The Pregnant Guppy had a humble beginning on the proverbial cocktail napkin. One evening friends Jack Conroy, Lee Mansdorf and others were discussing the problems NASA was having transporting the rocket booster stages aboard ships through the Panama Canal and the Gulf of Mexico. Mansdorf had recently purchased several surplus Boeing Stratocruisers but wasn't really sure what to do with them. Conroy figured they could take one of the Stratocruisers, enlarge the fuselage big enough to hold a rocket booster and contract with NASA to fly the boosters from California to Cape Canaveral, Florida. Conroy's drive to build the aircraft was so great, that when financing ran out, he did not: "conditions reached the point where Conroy no longer owned his house, cars, or furnishings." By flying the Guppy on borrowed aviation gas to the Marshall Space Flight Center, Conroy was able to test fly the aircraft with Wernher von Braun. On the basis of the test flights, contract negotiations with NASA began in earnest. The "Pregnant Guppy" aircraft first flew on September 19, 1962, piloted by Jack Conroy and co-pilot Clay Lacy. When Van Nuys traffic control realized that Conroy intended to take off, they alerted police and fire departments to be on alert. However the huge aircraft performed flawlessly, the only difference in handling being a slight decrease in speed caused by extra drag of the larger fuselage. Wernher von Braun stated that "The Guppy was the single most important piece of equipment to put a man on the moon in the decade of the 1960s." Conroy then developed the Super Guppy, which flew on August 31, 1965 in Van Nuys, CA. The Mini Guppy was built in Santa Barbara, CA, and was christened "Spirit of Santa Barbara", on May 24, 1967. Two days later, the Mini Guppy was carrying cargo to the Paris Air Show.In 1967 Aero Spacelines was purchased by Unexcelled Chemical Inc. Conroy resigned from Unexcelled Chemical in 1968

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Thomas E Twiggs 1934-2012

Thomas E Twiggs was born June 12. 1934,Twiggs was a graduate of Crossnore High School in June 1952. He was a graduate of Lees McRae College in Banner Elk, 1954 with an AA degree.
Twiggs attended North Carolina State University, Raleigh and received his Bachelor degree in Aerospace Engineering. He later received a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Seattle University in Seattle, Wash.
He served 23 years of Active and reserve duty as a commissioned Naval Aviator and continued his flying with the Boeing Company in Seattle, Wash., retiring as a Flight Test Pilot in 1999.
Type rated in Boeing Transports from the 707 thru the 777 and the T-33, helicopter commercial privileges.
Transport Experimental and Certification Testing
Testing in Boeing transports includes Defining the airplane envelope, Flutter, Stall speeds and characteristics at forward and aft C. G., Stability and control, Engine-operating characteristics, Natural and simulated ice handling qualities. Takeoff and landing distances, Structural loads, Air and ground minimum control speeds, and Autopilot control law development including Cat IIIc auto-lands including GPS guided auto-lands.
767 testing outside the normal envelope involved handling qualities with relaxed static stability, flight characteristics at the service ceiling near 50,000 feet and in-flight reverser deployment.
Developmental Testing in various airplanes
727 wings fitted with a fixed leading edge to investigate stalls and handling qualities at high alpha.
The TCV was a joint Boeing/NASA program, using a 737, to explore the employment of electronic displays and advanced navigation computers. The program developed precise 3D and 4D fuel efficient, reduced noise terminal procedures.
Leading edge contamination on the 737 to simulate extreme icing. This testing was done to investigate the stall characteristics at forward and aft CG.
The QSRA, a modified DeHavilland “Buffalo”, with swept wings and 4 high mounted jet engines to provide an externally blown wing upper surface and leading edge. This airplane was designed to be a quiet, STOL, “Coanda Effect”, research airplane for NASA. The Boeing testing included flutter, defining the basic airplane envelope, engine operating characteristics and verifying the SAS control laws.
Tested and developed an advanced target acquisition system was done using the company owned light airplanes and T-33s.
Developed and certified the FMS and advanced displays for the 757/767 two-crew fleets. This carried forward to the 747-400 with the Future Air Navigation System (FANS-1), enabling it to be the first transport to navigate the Pacific using GPS.
ETOPS Certification of the 777 to achieve 180 minutes over water
Upon retirement, he established Alpha Test Inc. and continued flight testing as a Consultant Designated Engineering Representative (DER) for the Federal Aviation Administration appointed to approve or recommend approval of technical data to the FAA.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Carl Anson Cover 1893-1944

Carl Cover trained at Kelly Field, San Antonio, Texas and was commissioned Second Lieutenant, Air Service, during WWI.
Carl A. Cover wore two hats with Douglas Aircraft Company. He was vice-president of sales, and test pilot who was first to fly the following classic Douglas aircraft :-
DC-1 first flight on July 1, 1933
DC-2 first flight May 11 1934
DC-3 first flight Dec 17  1935
DC-4E first flight June 7, 1938
DC-5 first flight on 20 February 1939 He joined Bell Aircraft in September 1944 as vice president of Bell Aircraft Corporation and manager of the firm's Georgia division. Both Carl Cover and Max Stupar, Bell Industrial planning director, were killed in the crash of their twin-engine cargo plane at Wright Field in December 1944.