Friday, February 24, 2006

Geoffrey Arthur Virley Tyson OBE 1907 -1987

Saro Skeeter, signed by Geoffrey Tyson

Saunders Roe SRA/1
Saunders Roe Princess Flying boat, flown by Geoffrey Tyson

Geoffrey Tyson was born at Purley on 4th February 1907, and was educated at Whitgift school,Croydon. On leaving school, he was articled to an estate agent in Croydon until he joined the Royal Air Force in 1925 with a short service commision. In 1931, on the expiry of his commission, he joined the Maidstone Aero Club in the same capacity.

During 1933-35 Tyson flew as an aerobatic pilot with Sir Alan Cobham's Air displays. He became a Test Pilot for A.V. Roe and Co Ltd from 1934-37. From 1937-40 he was an Experimental Pilot with Fligh Refuelling Ltd, then joining Short Brothers as a test pilot. As assistant test pilot to John Lankester Parker,Chief Test Pilot to Shorts, he tested production Sunderland flying boats and Stirling bombers. He often flew the half scale model of the Stirling.

He made the first test flight, with Lankester Parker, of the Short Shetland flying boat, and when Parker retired from active test flying, Tyson was appointed Chief Test Pilot in his place.

In 1946 he moved to Saunders-Roe in the same capacity. In 1947 he made the prototype test of the Saro A1 Jet flying boat and was responsible for much of the test flying on this aircraft. On 2nd Augut 1952 he made the maiden flight of the gigantic Saunders-Roe Princess flying boat.

Geoffrey Tyson left Saunders-Roe in 1956 and after a spell with Dunlop's Aviation Division, he retired in 1958.