Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Manfred Brennwald 1932-2013

Manfred Brennwald was born on 2 October 1932 in Zürich and passed away on 24 October 2013.

In 1952 he started his basic military training and became a maintenance crew member on the P-51 Mustang.  He was then selected for pilot training and got his wings in May 1954.  He applied in the professional wing of Swiss Air Force and was accepted.  He then became an officer and flight instructor. Four years later, the test pilot team at Emmen had a job opening and Manfred was selected to become a test pilot.  He started with production and acceptance tests on Swiss built DeHavilland Venoms and soon with the acceptance tests on Hawker Hunter in Dunsfold.  That was the time when the personal friendship with Bill Bedford started.  Envelope expansion for several weapons and the integration of a bomb delivery system were the next duties on the Hunter.  At the same time, the Federal Aircraft Factory started production of 60 Alouette III and Fred made production and reception flights.  In the Swiss Air Force he became squadron leader of the first militia squadron operating the Hunter.  In 1964 the integration of the Hughes TARAN system on the Mirage III started on Holloman AFB to become the Mirage IIIS.  Fred was responsible for the air to air part and made several missile firings.

Fred became a member of SETP in April 1965 and was active as a staff member on all European symposia held in Switzerland and as a participant in numerous other European and U.S. symposia.

Back home, the Mirage Simulator was waiting for test pilots care.  When the Swiss early warning radar and control system Florida went operational, Fred became an intercept director and later Chief Air Defence in a militia function and was promoted to the rank of Colonel.  Soon the project of a transport helicopter came up and Fred took the lead in the evaluation of the French Puma and Superpuma and the US Blackhawk and Bell 314 ST.  He stayed current on jets, took part in the OT&E program of the Swiss F-5E at Edwards AFB, made the cockpit definition of the Hunter Trainer and was – at the beginning - project pilot for the Hawker Sidley Hawk Mk 66, final assembly in Emmen.  He was also project pilot for the Superpuma. With his experience from the Mirage simulator he also became project pilot for the simulators Hawk and Superpuma.

At the end of 1990 Fred retired after 38 years of active duty, totalling 7000 hours and 14,780 landings on 85 different airplanes and 24 different helicopters.