Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Group Captain Harry Archer 1928-2014

Captain Jack Allavie and RAF Squadron Leader Harry Archer who launched Commander Petersen from the NB-52A, 52-0003 on August 10 1961.

Harry Archer joined RAF in 1950 and once he gained his wings he flew squadron tours on Meteors and Canberras and went on to instruct on Meteors. Archer graduated from the Empire Test Pilots School in 1957 and served at Aeroplane & Armament Experimental Establishment, Boscombe Down between1958-1960. Harry flew projects on the Avro Shackleton, Blackburn Beverley, V-bombers, Canberra PR9 (first flight), Edgar Percival EP9 (first flight), and Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer. In 1960 Archer was selected as the first RAF exchange test pilot to serve at the Air Force Flight Test Center (AFFTC) at Edwards AFB, California. Archer participated in the T-38, T-39, C-130, and B-52/X-15 programs flight test programs and flew the NB-52 launch plane on 18 of the 199 successful X-15 launches. During his tour at Edwards Archer became a very close friend of fellow B-52 launch pilot Jack Allavie and indeed, it was Allavie that checked Harry out in the Convair B-58 Hustler.
After rotating back to the UK Archer subsequently commanded 100 Squadron RAF on Victor B2s and later, commanded RAF St Mawgan in Cornwall. Group Captain Archer retired from the RAF in 1980 after flying 7000 hours in about 170 types.