Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Eric George Franklin OBE DFC AFC 1920-

Prone Meteor
AW Apollo

Eric Franklin walks from AW Argosy G-AOZZ after the maiden flight
Eric Franklin performed the maiden flight of the AW52 Flying Wing in 1947

Eric Franklin was Apprenticed to Armstrong Whitworth in 1937 and in 1938 learned to fly under the Civil Air Guard Scheme on a DH60X Moth. In 1939 he qualified for Royal Aero Cub Certificate.In 1939 he joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR) and continued flying training at No 9 Elementary and Refresher School on Avro Cadets and Hawker Harts. He was mobilised on the outbreak of war.

In 1940 he was posted to 10 Operational Training Unit Abingdon and No 19 OTU Kinloss on Amstrong Whitworth Whitleys. He was later that year posted to Bomber Command flying with 78 Squadron flying Whitley aircraft on ops over Europe. In 1941 he was posted to 35 Squadron to fly Halifaxes from Linton-on-Ouse on raids on the Ruhr, Hamburg and Berlin. Between 1941 and 1942 he helped formed Halifax conversion Flights at Linton-on-Ouse, Leconfield and Marston Moor. In 1942 he was seconded to Handley Page as a Halifax Production pilot. In 1943 he was posted to 35 Squadron as Flight Commander flying halifaxes as part of the Pathfinder Force from Graveley. He was then posted to Telecommunications Flying unit flying Lancaster, Mosquito and Beafighters.

1944-1945 he attended the Empire Test pilots school at Boscombe Down. In 1945 prior to his demobilisation he was seconded to Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft for experimental test flying with the Chief Test Pilot Charles Turner Hughes on AW52G glider and production tests on Lancaster and Lincoln. in 1947 he was apponted Senior test pilot and on 13th November he flew AW52 on it's First Flight. In 1948 he was appointed Chief Test Pilot and continued in that role until 1965 where he was flying various aircraft produced at Baginton including several meteor marks, Sea Hawks, Hunters and Javelins. On the 10th April 1949 he captained the Apollo turboprop airliners in its maiden flight. On 31st May 1950 he flew prototype Meteor NF11 on its first flight and later in 1959 captained the Argosy on its maiden flight. In 1965 following the closure of Baginton he moved to Hawker Siddeley Aviation in Manchseter and undertook development and production tests on Avro 748 Shakleton AEW and Nimrod.