Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sqn Ldr James B. Starky DSO DFC 1916-1996

James Bayntun Starky was born in Gisborne,New Zealand on 10th November 1916. He joined the RNZAF on 2nd July 1940 and was posted to Operational Tarining Unit at Lossiemouth where he learned to fly Wellingtons. He was posted to 149 Sqn (wellington's) in Egypt. On his return to England in 1942 he became a Test Pilot on many aircraft including Spitfires,Mosquitoes and Beaufighters.

He returned to Operations in April 1943 with 115 Sqn (Lanacaster's) earning a DFC and DSO within 10 days of each other. He flew 47 sorties on Lancasters before serving briefly as a flying instructor before being posted to the ETPS at Boscombe Down as a member of No2 course,Mar1944-Mar1945. He was employed on test flying for the rest of 1945 at the Aircraft and Armament Experimental Establishment testing heavy bombers.

He was repatriated to New Zealand in 1946 but returned to the UK to join the RAF in 1947. He returned to Boscombe Down and flew the experimental Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire powered Canberra. In 1948,he was appointed assistant test pilot to Waldo Price-Owen at Armstrong Siddely Motors Ltd, testing new turboprop and turbojet engines. He became the engine company's Chief Test Pilot in 1951.