Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Derek J. Whitehead AFC 1925-1989

Derek Whitehead (Chief Test Pilot) and Bernard Watson (Head of Flight Test) after the maiden flight of the Blackburn NA39 on April 30th 1958.

Derek Whitehead qualified as a pilot in the RAF in May 1945,three months later he transferred to the Royal Navy. His service including a wide variety of types of aircraft. He took the ETPS course in 1954 and the following year was appointed to the Naval Test Squadron at Boscombe Down where he flew 41 different types and evaluated the Scimitar from the first protytype and deck landing assesement through the CA release. He was awarded the AFC for this work.

He was a Lt-Cdr on a permanent commission before retiring from the Navy to join Blackburn Aircraft. Was appointed Chief Test Pilot and flew the maiden flight of the Blackburn NA39.