Friday, April 24, 2015

Dave Southwood

Dave Southwood started flying at the age of 17 then joined the RAF a year later in 1973. After completing flying training he flew Buccaneers and Hunters with 208 Squadron, becoming the squadron’s Qualified Weapons’ Instructor pilot in 1982. In 1983 and 1984 he flew on Operation Pulsator in Beirut for which he was awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air.
In 1984 Dave became the 208 Squadron Buccaneer display pilot, thus starting a long association with display flying. He trained as a test pilot at the Empire Test Pilots’ School (ETPS) during 1985, thereafter spending 5 years at Boscombe Down involved in many varied Military Aircraft Release programmes on fast jet and trainer aircraft. Much of this work involved the carriage and release of new weapons, both guided and unguided, on a variety of aircraft, and also many weapon development programmes flying a Buccaneer; for his work during this tour he was awarded the Air Force Cross.
In 1991 he returned to ETPS as a flying tutor before being posted to Farnborough in 1993 as a Research and Development test pilot. On this tour Dave specialized in projects on night vision goggles, FLIR, targeting pods, helmet mounted sights and display systems, and integration onto aircraft such as the Jaguar and Tornado. In 1995 he returned to ETPS as a tutor from where he left the RAF as a Squadron Leader in 1999 to fly Boeing 747s for an airline. In 1999 he was given the Derry and Richards Memorial award by the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators for his services to flight test, the first military pilot ever to be given this accolade. In 2002 he returned to ETPS as a civilian flying tutor where he is currently instructing on types including Tornado, Jaguar, Alpha Jet and Hawk.
Dave started flying the Hunter in 1978 and remained current on it until 1999. In early 2007 he started flying it again for HHA, becoming the type standardization agent for the military flying regulatory organization. In addition, he has been displaying vintage World War II fighters since 1988, is a CAA Display Authorisation Evaluator and flies regularly for The Fighter Collection at Duxford.
Dave has 8700 hours on well over 100 types of aircraft, ranging from the Spitfire to the Phantom, Wildcat to Tomcat, Bf109 to Gripen, Airacobra to F-117A. He has 1350 hours on the Buccaneer and almost 1000 hours on his favourite aircraft, the Hunter.