Robert “Bob” Brookes 1941 -
Robert “Bob” Brookes born October 1941 joined Westland Aircraft Ltd as an engineering apprentice in 1957. Educated at Yeovil Technical College and later The Open University, Bob worked initially in the Mechanical Section of the Design Office and then the Advanced Projects Office before transferring to the Development Department to assist in the type testing of the Wessex Mk 2 helicopter. Transfer to the Flight Test Department in early 1966 led to participation in flight trials of the Wessex Mk3 and in the datum trials of the Sikorsky SH3D helicopter (XV370) prior to conversion to UK Sea King equipment standard. Participation in the intensive flight programme of the Westland built Sea King Mk1 for the Royal Navy then followed. A similar programme, with the conversion of an Aerospatiale prototype SA330 to UK equipment standard prior to entry into RAF service of the Westland built Puma HC Mk1 then followed. In the mid 1970’s he became lead Flight Test Engineer for the Utility version of the Lynx and subsequently for weapon systems clearance for all helicopter types. Following promotion to Chief Flight Test Engineer there followed the development and certification of the Westland 30 series of helicopters. He left the Flight Test Department to become Chief Instrumentation Engineer 1987, Deputy Chief Development Engineer 1990, and then Deputy Chief Designer(Development) EH101 1998. Following the completion of the EH101 development programme and the introduction into service of the Merlin Mk1 and Mk3 he enjoyed a final spell as Chief Flight Test Engineer overseeing further flight development of Merlin, Apache and Lynx upgrades, prior to retiring in October 2001.
Bob was a founding member of the European Chapter of the Society of Flight Test Engineers in 1987