Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Michael Randrup 1913-1984

Mike Randrup (right) with Walter Shirley











Michael Randrup is born on 20 April 1913 in Moscow. Following the Bolshevik revolution the family leaves Russia and settles in United Kingdom. He is educated at King's School, Canterbury. He is fascinated by aviation from an early age. He joins the Kent Flying Club at Bekesbourne, near Canterbury and he went solo in June 1936 and obtains the "A" license in July. He later qualifies for the "B" commercial pilot’s license.

In the late-1930’s he tries to join the Royal Air Force, but as Dane he is not eligible. In stead the joins the College of Aeronautics, Chelsea. In 1939 having graduated he and his cousin Ivan Christian Randrup take part in setting up a small air charter company, but the activities is disrupted by the outbreak of war.
In early 1940, following the German occupation of Denmark, he is accepted by the air authorities and commissioned in the RAFVR. Though an experienced pilot he is not accepted for operational duties in the first place. Following a brief course at a Special Flying Instructors’ School, he becomes instructor in flying.
He remains in the Training Command for two years spending one of these in Southern Rhodesia.

He returns to United Kingdom and various sections of Training Command, before being appointed to an Operational Training Unit as an instructor. On 4 September 1940 he is promoted to Pilot Officer on probation. On 4 September 1941 he is confirmed in this appointment and further promoted to Flying Officer. On 6 October 1942 he is posted to No. 234 (Madras Presidency) Squadron. At this point in time efforts are made to form a squadron of Danish pilots, and a number of pilots are posted to this squadron in 1942.

As early as in the end of 1942 Michael Randrup has his first experiences as test pilot on Spitfire production works. He remains attached to the Air Service Training Ltd. at Hamble until 1944 before being posted to the Royal Aircraft Establishment (R.A.E.) at Farnborough. While at RAE Michael Randrup is one of the pilots testing the Heinkel He 177A-5/R6 W. Nr. 550062 (re-serialled TS439) captured from the Germans in September 1944. In 1945 he is given the command of the Engine Research and Development Flight.
In March 1946 Michael Randrup is offered the job as Chief Test Pilot for D. Napier & Son Ltd. in 1946 and remains so until 1960. On 28 August 1957, Michael Randrup pilots Canberra B.2 (WK 163) setting a new world aeroplane altitude record of 70,310 ft. The observer of the aircraft is Walter Shirley. They are both presented the Britannia trophy for 1957 "for the most outstanding aeronautical achievement of the year." From 1966-1973 Michael Randrup is manager of the British Aircraft Corporation, Saudi Arabia. Michael Randrup died February 1984 at the age of 70