Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Harry W.Rayner 1929-2007

Harry Rayner in cockpit of WN345
Maiden Flight of Jetsream

Harry Rayner joined the RAF as a Sergeant Pilot in 1947 and trained at No 4FTS Heany in Southern Rhodesia. He served in Fighter Command flying Meteor F4s and F8s from 1950-1954 with No 92 Sqn at Linton on Ouse and No74 Sqn at Horsham St Faith.

He joined Brooklands Aviation in 1954 as a production test pilot flying such types as Vampires, Valettas and Mosquitoes at Sywell.

In 1955 he moved on to Armstrong Siddeley Motors and later Bristol Siddeley Engines as an engine development test pilot at Bitteswell and Filton flying a multitude of types, including Hunter, Canberra, Javelin, Jet Provost, Dakota, Lancastrian, Blackburn YB1, Wyvern, and Seamew with engines such as Sapphire, Viper, Python and Double Mamba.

In 1960 he joined Handley Page at Radlett as a production and experimental test pilot, flying Victor, Herald and Hastings. He was involved in Victor development trials, including high and low altitude handling and performance, tanker development, equipment and engineering trials. He was appointed Victor project pilot in 1967 with particular responsibility for the proposed Mk2 tanker. He was co-pilot on the maiden flight of the Jetstream and became project pilot for the C-10A (the proposed USAF Jetstream).

On the demise of Handley Page he started a 23 year career in commercial aviation flying with Dan Air, flying BAC 111s, and finally with Channel Express flying Handley Page Heralds, once again, before retiring in 1993 with over 15,000 hours logged.