Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Gerald John (Gerry) Smallridge 1929-1979

Jetlift Meteor
Wessex 1

Gerry Smallridge joined Westland as a Mechanical Engineering Apprentice in 1947.
On completing National Service in the Royal Air Force, he returned to Westland in 1953 to join the newly formed Flight Test Department. By this time the company was totally dedicated to helicopter design and development.
He was involved in the flight test programmes of the whole range of Westland products including: Jet Lift Meteor, Wyvern, Dragonfly, Widgeon, Whirlwind, Westminster, Wessex, Scout, Wasp, Sioux, Sea King and Lynx.
Appointed Chief Flight Test Engineer in 1961, Gerry Smallridge played a major part in formulating the way in which helicopters were flight tested, and was also responsible for the integration of the Flight Test Departments when Fairey, Bristol and Saunders Roe became part of Westland, a difficult process, which he handled with sensitivity and leadership.
In 1971 he was awarded the Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air, and was appointed Sea King project manager in 1977.