Friday, February 24, 2006

Alexander Ewen 'Ben' Gunn 1923-1999





Alexander Ewen 'Ben' Gunn was born on 24th June 1923 and educted in Whitehill in Glasgow. Fom 1942 to 1942 he attended the RAF Staff College at Cranwell and thn went to 501 Sqn flying Spitfires. From 501 Sqn, 'Ben' went on to 1 Group and No 274 Sqn flying Tempest 5's.

On VE Day in 1945, 'Ben' Gunn took up a position tets flying at the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment (A&AEE) at the RAE Farnborough where he graduated as a Test Pilot. Having completed the ETPS Course at Farnborough, he then moved on to become Chief Test Pilot for Boulton Pail Aircraft and Armament Ltd, a position which he held for 17 years.

Whilst with Boulton Paul, 'Ben' was involved in the Test Flying and maiden f;lights of many aircraft types, two of which were the little delta aircraft the P111A and P120 (which are depicted on the above cover). 'Ben' became the first pilot to eject (and inverted) from a delta aircraft, when the P120 lost the port elevon in flight.

In 1957 he flew the 'Tay' Viscount Flying Test Bed, whereby he was the first to fly by wire on all three surfaces.

In 1971, A.E. 'Ben' Gunn retired from test flying having flown 175 different types of aircraft, from single engine to 4 engined aircraft.