Friday, December 28, 2007

Jack Scott 1908-2002

Born in May 1908 Jack Scott learned to fly in 1933 and up to the outbreak of war flew with a variety of organisations including Atlantic-Coast Air Services (His own airline), Imperial Airways and the private and charter firm Olley Air Services. He first made the news in 1939 when he landed a flight into Croydon from France on one wheel after an undercarriage failure, circling for ninety minutes to reduce his fuel load he demonstrated his talent by landing the aircraft with only minimal damage to the aircraft and no injury to himself or any of the passengers

At the outbreak of war he was called up as a squadron leader and posted to 24 squadron a communications unit. In 1941 he became chief flying instructor of 51 Operational Conversion Unit, teaching night-flying tactics and moved again in 1942 to the Beaufighter equipped 29 Squadron. Jack Scott's superb flying skills had always stood him out and in 1943 he was posted to Coventry to test-fly newly produced Mosquito's from the Standard Motors production line. He was at Coventry for a year before moving on to Rolls Royce at Derby where he did test and development flying on the new Merlin powered P51 Mustang.

1945 saw a move to Power Jets as its new chief test pilot a position he maintained when it became the National Gas Turbine establishment where he was involved in testing a number of jet engine systems including thrust-reversal and reheat. His association with the ejection seat began in July 1946 when he piloted Meteor EE416 with Bernie Lynch's on board for the first live ejection from a British Aircraft. He also flew the aircraft on later ejection tests at up to 500 mph and was the pilot when Sqn Ldr John Fifeld carried out the first runway level ejection from converted Meteor T7, WA634 at Chalgrove.

Jack Scott was a founder member of the British Airline Pilots Association, a member of the Royal Aeronautical Society and retired as chief test pilot of Martin-Baker in 1960. He was a pioneering test pilot at the dawn of the jet age and died age 93, in May 2002.