Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Richard Frewen (Dicky) Martin OBE DFC* AFC 1918-2006

Wing Commander Dickie Martin fought with distinction as a fighter pilot over France and Tobruk; later he became one of Britain's foremost test pilots while also devoting much time to flying vintage aircraft with the Shuttleworth Trust.
Within weeks of completing his training in August 1939, Martin was flying Hurricanes with No 73, one of two RAF fighter squadrons rushed to France a few days after war was declared. In what became known as the "phoney war", he flew patrols to intercept lone bombers and reconnaissance aircraft.
On November 8 he was scrambled to intercept a high-flying bomber, but his oxygen system failed and he fainted at 21,000 ft. He recovered just in time to make a forced landing at an airfield in neutral Luxembourg, where he was interned. He was allowed out every day for exercise, and one foggy morning gradually widened his normal circuit before disappearing into the mist. When he returned on Boxing Day to his squadron, he was called the "Prisoner of Luxembourg".
As activity increased over northern France, Martin gained his first success on April 21 1940, when he probably destroyed a Messerschmitt Bf 110 fighter. Following the German Blitzkrieg on May 10, No 73 was in constant action. Martin shared in the destruction of a Dornier bomber, and four days later attacked a formation of Stuka dive-bombers, shooting down two and probably a third.
Although still only a junior pilot officer, he returned to England as an instructor, and was awarded the DFC.
In early April 1941 Martin rejoined No 73 at Tobruk just as Rommel launched his attack, and was immediately in action. He shared in the destruction of a reconnaissance aircraft, and shot down a Bf 109 on May 29. The following day he and six other pilots took off to intercept a raid by 60 aircraft. He was shot down during the fierce fight but, despite being wounded, was able to bale out.
After his recovery Martin was sent as a flight commander to No 250 Squadron, flying the Tomahawk. On the aircraft's operational debut he damaged a Bf 109, and two weeks later destroyed two Italian fighters. He was awarded a Bar to his DFC in August, and was also mentioned in dispatches.
Richard Frewen Martin was born on July 26 1918 at Bournemouth. He was educated at Cheltenham College and the RAF College at Cranwell, where he was awarded the prize for the best pilot in his entry.
After his time on No 250 in the desert, Martin instructed fighter pilots at RAF training schools at Khartoum and Aden before returning to England in 1943. A year later he converted to flying Dakota transport aircraft and left for India, where he joined No 52 Squadron. He was soon flying mail and supplies into Kunming, China, and, once the longer range Liberators had arrived on the squadron, he flew evacuation flights to Chungking. When the southerly advance into Burma began, resupply sorties to support the Fourteenth Army took on increasing importance.
At the end of the war Martin attended the Empire Test Pilots' School (ETPS) before becoming a flight commander with the Aerodynamic Research Flight at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough. He tested the early experimental jets that led to the development of the Hunter, Swift and Sea Vixen fighter aircraft, for which he was awarded the AFC.
In 1949 Martin returned to the ETPS as an instructor for two years. After a staff appointment at the Air Ministry, he left the RAF in 1953 to become a test pilot at Gloster Aircraft Company, where he was appointed chief test pilot the following year. He joined the early testing programme of the delta-wing Javelin fighter, which had experienced control difficulties. In nearly 200 spins, Martin developed a technique for recovery.
Later a report appeared, strongly denied by the company, that the aircraft had serious defects at high speed. The following night Martin dived one over London, causing a sonic boom, which "just happened to be aimed at the Houses of Parliament". Thousands rushed into the streets where they claimed to have seen "blue flashes" and "meteorites". Martin suggested with a straight face that the noise was accidental – the result of his oxygen tube fouling the controls.
For almost seven years he tested every version of the Javelin and, by his perseverance, flying skill and management of the test programme, turned it into a successful aircraft which served on many night fighter squadrons. For his work at Glosters, Martin was appointed OBE.
In 1960 he joined AV Roe and tested Vulcan bombers, the Shackleton and the successful HS 748 airliner for a further seven years, being awarded a Queen's Commendation for Valuable Services in the Air. He then flew for various airlines before retiring from Monarch Airlines in 1984.
During his time at Glosters, Martin masterminded a project by the apprentices to restore to flying condition one of the company's pre-war Gladiator bi-planes. This was presented to the Shuttleworth Trust, which Martin had joined in 1948, and for many years he flew the aircraft at air shows. He was a member of the executive committee, and gave 42 years service to the trust, displaying many of the vintage aircraft in the collection.

S/Ldr John 'Fifi' S. Fifield OBE,DFC,AFC 1917-2014


John Fifield

John Fifield was a test pilot for 23 years with Martin-Baker.While most military pilots hope that they will never have to eject, Sqn Ldr Fifield had deliberately "banged out" no fewer than six times on company trials.
His initial ejection—the first by anyone at ground level—was performed from a Gloster Meteor travelling at 120kt, shortly after he joined Martin-Baker in 1955. Within a month he had ejected from the same aircraft at an altitude of 42,000ft, riding the seat down to 10,000ft before parachute deployment. Sqn Ldr Fifield flew Spitfires during the Second World War, and was a National Gas Turbine Establishment test pilot before joining de Havilland.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

John Oliver Lancaster DFC 1919-2019

Joe Lancaster in Meteor Mk4 circa 1950
Saunders Roe SR/A1
Armstrong Whitworth AW-52 'Flying Wing' which Jo Lancaster ejected from, becoming the first 'live' ejectee

J.O.Lancaster (right) talking to Martin Baker Test Pilot Benny Lynch.

In 1935 he joined Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft Ltd on an engineering apprenticeship. 1937 saw him join the RAF Volunteer service. He underwent pilot training on Tiger Moths. Apparently he was kicked out in 1938 for low aerobatics. Following the outbreak of war and after brief encounters with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and Royal Navy he was accepted back by the RAF.

In 1940 he underwent repeat training on Tiger Moths and in 1941 was posted to 20 OTU at Lossiemouth for training on Wellington 1c. He joined 40 Squadron at Alconbury completing 31 operations including Berlin, Stettin and a formation daylight raid on Brest. He was posted to 22 OTU for instructing durties and in 1942 went on OTU Instructor's Course at Central Flying School Upavon. He participated in the First 1000 Bomber Raid. Then he was posted to newly established 28 OTU at Wymeswold. He was then posted to 12 Squadron at Wickenbury as they were converting to Lancasters. In 1943 he completed his second tour bringing a total to 54 Operations. He was then posted to A&AEE at Boscombe Down for duties in Armament Testing Squadron flying wide variety of aircraft types.
In 1945 he completed 3 Course Empiere Test Pilots' Shool and then in 1946 he was seconded to Boulton-Paul Aircraft Ltd and then later demobilised from the RAF.In 1946 he joined Saunders-Rowe at Cowes flying as deputy to Chief Test Pilot Geoffry Tyson. He flew the Supermarine Walrus and Sea Otter, Short Sunderland and Auster 6 Floatplane and undertook development test flying on SR A/1 jet fighter flying boat.In 1949 he rejoined Armstrong-Whitworth as test pilot under Chief Test Pilot Eric Franklin and participated in test programmes covering Lancaster, Lincoln and York, Meteor T4, T7 and F8 and Night Fighter Mks11 to 14 and TT20, Sea Hawk, Hunter F2, F5, F6 & T7, Shackleton, Valetta, AW52G tailess experimental glider and AW52 flying-wing, Gloster Javelin and Argosy.
On May 30th 1949 whilst flying the AW52 he became the first pilot to eject 'in anger' from a British aircraft using the Martin-Baker ejection seat. In 1965 he was Aviation Manager for an air Survey Company Meridian Airmaps and he retired in 1984.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Brian Trubshaw 1924-2001

When Concorde took off from Filton on 9th April 1969, Captain Brian Trubshaw was at the controls. This historic occasion marked two significant milestones – one technological, the other personal: it was the maiden flight of Britain’s first supersonic passenger transport aircraft and for Trubshaw the crowning glory of his lifetime’s work as an experimental test pilot. His close involvement with the Concorde flight test programme saw him become a household name overnight.
Brian Trubshaw spent the whole of his career in aviation, first in the RAF then in experimental test flying. With Vickers-Armstrongs he tested the Viscount, Valiant, Vanguard, VC10 and Super VC10.
Throughout his distinguished career Brian had received many honours in recognition of his services to aviation. In 1948 he was awarded the MVO for service to the Sovereign in the King’s Flight; in 1964 he received the OBE and in 1970 a Companion of that order for his work on Concorde.
Brian retired from BAe in 1986 but his passion for aviation never ceased as he set up an aviation consultancy from his home in Gloucestershire until his death in March 2001.

James 'Jim' W. Smolka 1950-

James W. "Smoke" Smolka is a research test pilot in the Flight Crew Branch of the Flight Operations Directorate at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, located on Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
Smolka has been a research pilot at NASA Dryden since 1985. He is currently a project pilot for the Autonomous Formation Flight and Intelligent Flight Control System experiments and flies the F-15B Aeronautical Research Aircraft on a variety of experiments. In addition, Smolka is a co-pilot the NASA NB-52B launch aircraft and pilots the C-17A at the Air Force Flight Test Center.

Smolka was the project pilot on the F-15 Advanced Control Technology for Integrated Vehicles (ACTIVE) research project. He has flown as a co-project pilot on the F-16XL Supersonic Laminar Flow Control aircraft and the F-18 High Alpha (Angle-of-Attack) Research Vehicle (HARV) aircraft. He also participated in F-15 HiDEC flight and engine control system projects, the AFTI/F-16, F-111 Mission Adaptive Wing, and F-104 Aeronautical Research Aircraft projects.

Before joining NASA, Smolka was an F-16 experimental test pilot with General Dynamics Corp-oration for two years at Edwards. During this period he was also a project pilot with the Advanced Fighter Technology Integration F-16 (AFTI/F-16) Joint Test Force located at Dryden.

Smolka, born July 31, 1950, in Mt. Clemens, Mich., received his bachelor of science degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1972. He is a 1978 graduate of the Air Force Test Pilot School, served on active duty until 1983, and subsequently served in the U.S. Air Force Reserve until 1999. Among the aircraft he flew in the Air Force were the T-38, A-7D, OV-10A, A-37, A-10A, and F-15B. Smolka retired from the Air Force Reserve with the rank of colonel in 1999 after 27 years of active and reserve service.
Smolka received a master of science degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering in 1980 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also received an engineer of aeronautics and astronautics degree from Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif., in 1994.

A member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, Smolka has authored several technical publications and has taught a number of courses in the field of aerospace for California State University, Fresno, and Chapman College. He has accumulated more than 6,500 hours of flight time since he became a pilot in 1973.

Mark Pestana

Mark Pestana is a research pilot and flight engineer in the Flight Crew Branch of NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif. His flying duties include operation of the DC-8 flying laboratory in the Airborne Science Program. He is a pilot for the Beech 200 King Air and the T-34C. Pestana has accumulated more than 4,000 hours of military and civilian flight experience.

Pestana came to Dryden as a DC-8 mission manager in June 1998, from NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas. Before joining NASA in 1994, Pestana was a flight crew operations engineer with Barrios Technology, Inc., Houston, Texas. Pestana was the Earth and Space Science discipline manager for the International Space Station Program at Johnson. He also served as a flight crew operations engineer in the Astronaut Office. He participated in development of the controls, displays, tools, crew accommodations and procedures for on-orbit assembly, test, and checkout of the International Space Station. He led the analysis and technical negotiations for modification of the Russian Soyuz spacecraft for application as an emergency crew return vehicle for space station crews.

Before 1990, Pestana was on active duty with the U. S. Air Force as the director of mission planning for the Department of Defense Space Test Program. There he led an engineering and operations team in flight testing developmental spacecraft systems on Space Shuttle and Department of Defense satellite programs for the Air Force, Army and Navy. Among these projects were experimental missile detection and tracking systems in support of the Strategic Defense Initiative program. Pestana flew P-3 aircraft, verifying these prototype systems.
Pestana received his commission as a second lieutenant in the Air Force through the Reserve Officer Training Corps. He initially served as an orbit analyst at the NORAD Cheyenne Mountain Complex, Colo., responsible for orbit determination, space mission assessments, and orbital decay/impact prediction. After graduating from Air Force pilot training at Williams Air Force Base, Phoenix, Ariz., Pestana flew operational flights in T-38s, KC-135 tankers, and RC-135 "Rivet Joint" and "Combat Sent" reconnaissance aircraft, in which he logged more than 200 combat intelligence sorties. He earned nine Air Medals, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Service Medal and two Meritorious Service Medals.

Pestana earned bachelor of science degree in Earth Science from Loyola University, Los Angeles, in 1975. He earned a master of science degree in Systems Management/Research and Development from the University of Southern California in 1988. He is a colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve assigned to the Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

Frank Batteas 1955-

Frank Batteas is a research test pilot in the Flight Crew Branch of NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif. He is currently a project pilot for the F/A-18 and C-17 flight research projects. In addition, his flying duties include operation of the DC-8 Flying Laboratory in the Airborne Science program, and piloting the B-52B launch aircraft, the King Air, and the T-34C support aircraft. Batteas has accumulated more than 4,700 hours of military and civilian flight experience in more than 40 different aircraft types.

Batteas came to NASA Dryden in April 1998, following a career in the U.S. Air Force. His last assignment was at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio, where Lieutenant Colonel Batteas led the B-2 Systems Test and Evaluation efforts for a two-year period

Batteas graduated from Class 88A of the Air Force Test Pilot School, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., in December 1988. He served more than five years as a test pilot for the Air Force's newest airlifter, the C-17, involved in nearly every phase of testing from flutter and high angle-of-attack tests to airdrop and air refueling envelope expansion. In the process, he achieved several C-17 firsts including the first day and night aerial refuelings, the first flight over the North Pole, and a payload-to-altitude world aviation record. As a KC-135 test pilot, he also was involved in aerial refueling certification tests on a number of other Air Force aircraft.

Batteas received his commission as a second lieutenant in the U. S. Air Force through the Reserve Officer Training Corps and served initially as an engineer working on the Peacekeeper and Minuteman missile programs at the Ballistic Missile Office, Norton Air Force Base, Calif. After attending pilot training at Williams Air Force Base, Phoenix, Ariz., he flew operational flights in the KC-135 tanker aircraft and then was assigned to research flying at the 4950th Test Wing, Wright-Patterson. He flew extensively modified C-135 and C-18 aircraft. In addition, he was project manager and research pilot for aurora borealis studies on the Airborne Ionospheric Observatory.

Batteas earned a bachelor of science degree in nuclear engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N.Y., in 1977 and was awarded master of science degrees in systems management from the University of Southern California in 1980 and in mechanical engineering from California State University Fresno in 1991.

Stephen D. Ishmael 1948-

Stephen D. Ishmael is NASA's X-33 Deputy Manager for Flight Test and Operation. He has also served as Special Assistant to the Director of the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center for X-33, and before assuming that position in 1996, he was manager of Dryden's Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) programs.

From 1977 until the spring of 1995, he was a research pilot at Dryden. He served as the chief project pilot on two major aeronautical research programs there, the SR-71 High Speed Research program and the F-16XL Laminar Flow Technology program. Other Dryden flight programs he has been involved in include the X-29 Forward Swept Wing/Technology Demonstrator aircraft on which he actively participated in the development and planning phases, the Advanced Fighter Technology Integration F-16 (AFTI F-l6), the F-8 Digital Fly-By-Wire, and the F-l4 spin research programs.

Ishmael entered the U.S. Air Force in l971 as a pilot and flew F-l06s with the Air National Guard's 194th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Fresno, Calif., and F-16s with the Air Force Reserve's 466th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Hill Force Base, Utah.

He has logged more than 6,000 hours of flying time in single-seat aircraft since becoming a pilot in l97l.
Born at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., on Dec. 21, l948, Ishmael attended elementary schools in Lakeside, Calif.

He was an undergraduate--and a Regents Scholar--at the University of California at San Diego, and received a Master of Science degree in Engineering (with emphasis on computer technology) from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1974.

Gary E. Krier 1934-

Former research pilot Gary E. Krier is the Director of Flight Operations of the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif. He was the acting Deputy Director effective June 30, 2001 to September 9, 2001. Until that time he was the Chief Engineer and also the Director of the Systems Management Office at Dryden. He had held the position of Chief Engineer since August 1, 1999, and he was appointed Systems Management Office Director in October 1999.

Before August 1999, he had been the Director of the Airborne Science Directorate since August 1998. Prior to assuming this position, Krier headed the Aerospace Projects Directorate from March 1997 to August 1998. He had previously been in charge of the Intercenter Aircraft Operations Directorate at Dryden from 1995 to 1997.
From 1992 to 1994, he served as Manager, Operations and Facilities, for the New Launch System at NASA Headquarters, where he developed operational procedures and facilities for the next generation of Expendable Launch Vehicles and participated in policy making for the program.

From 1987 to 1992, he held two different management positions at NASA Headquarters relating to Space Shuttle operations. Among other positions he held before that time were Director of the Commercial Development Division, Office of Commercial Programs, at NASA Headquarters (1984-1987); Director of the Aircraft Management Office at NASA Headquarters (1983-1984); and attorney in the Office of the Chief Counsel at Ames Research Center (1982-1983).

Earlier in his career, Krier was an aerospace research pilot and engineer at Dryden after first going to work for NASA in 1967. He was the first pilot to fly the F-8 Digital Fly-by-Wire aircraft and the Integrated Propulsion Control System F-111 with digital fuel and inlet control. He was also co-project pilot with Thomas C. McMurtry on the F-8 Supercritical Wing project. In addition, he flew the YF-17 research aircraft and has flown more than 30 types of aircraft ranging from light planes to the B-52 and the triple-sonic YF-12.

Before joining NASA, Krier served as an engineer for Pratt & Whitney, Martin Marietta, and Hercules Powder Company. He is the author of 7 technical reports. He earned his B.S. in mechanical engineering at the University of Utah in 1960 and went on to achieve an M.B.A. (with Distinction) from Golden Gate University in 1978 and a J.D. from the UCLA School of Law in 1982. He also completed the Program for Management Development at Harvard University on a NASA Fellowship in 1975. He is a member of the State Bar of California, of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots (for which he served as legal officer in 1989 and continues to serve as legal advisor and scholarship foundation trustee), and the Quiet Birdmen.

Peter R D Wilson 1920-2010

Peter Wilson served in India and Burma during WWII. He was an Army pilot, one of six to be selected to be trained on helicopters in November 1946 on Sikorsky Hoverfly 1’s. An Experimental Flight for trials with the Army was formed using Hoverfly 2’s in April 1947, ceasing Operations in January 1948.

In December 1948, Peter Wilson was appointed the Army Test Pilot at the Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment (AFEE) at RAF Beaulieu in Hampshire. In September 1950 he became the first Army Helicopter Test Pilot at the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment (A&AEE) at Boscombe Down.

He voluntarily retired from the Army and joined the Bristol Aeroplane Company as a Test Pilot at Filton, Bristol. He was involved in Testing all the Bristol Helicopters, and was heavily involved with the Sycamore and Belvedere.

In 1960 Bristol Helicopters were taken over by Westland Aircraft. During his time with Westland, he flew the SA330 Puma, SA341 Gazelle and the Seaking. He continued to fly at Yeovil until 26th August 1974. In all 25 years as a Military and Civil Helicopter Test Pilot. He was awarded the Queen’s Award for Valuable Services in the Air on January 1st 1974.

NASA Dryden Test Pilots and Aircraft

Saturday, June 03, 2006

'Dick' Richard B Stratton CEng FRAeS 1923-2007

Chief Development Engineer Saunders Roe SR53 Project 1954-1960

Dick Stratton joined SARO from the RAF in 1948, as a Flight Engineer qualified on the Mk V Sunderland, HIS first task was to “activate” the powered Flying Control Test-bed Sunderland on loan to SARO. The learning curve was steep since they were pioneering an extremely new concept of flying control surfaces based on a WWII gun turret developed by Boulton-Paul Ltd.

He then flew as Chief Flight Engineer on the SARO “Princess” ten-propeller turbine Flying Boat. Test flying ceased on 5th May 1954 – after 46 flights – 100 hours.
In 1954 he became Chief Development Engineer SR53 rocket interceptor project. Between 1956 and 1960 he moved to Boscombe Down on A&AEE for the SR53 Flight Trials. Between 1960 and 1961 he was Chief Development Engineer at Eastleigh on Skeeter and Scout projects until the Eastleigh site was closed following a rationalisation by Westlands.In 1961 he joined Beagle Aircraft Company at Shoreham as Flying Test Engineer and between 1962 and 1966 he was British Executive Air Services Kidlington with Brantly Helicopters.

Charles T.D. 'Sox' Hosegood 1920 -2014

L-R Raoul Hefner,Cyril Unwins,Sox Hosegood and Keith Turner taken after 1st flight Jan 1952

During the war Charles “Sox” Hosegood served in the Fleet Air Arm,being appointed to the first armed merchant cruiser to be fitted with a catapult. He was among the first British helicopter pilots during the latter stages of World War 2 to be sent for helicopter training in the USA.
On his return to the UK in mid-1944, he served with various experimental units and on loan to the RAF at Beaulieu,where the Experimental Unit originated.

He joined the Bristol Aeroplane Co in 1948,to assist in helicopter test and development. “Sox” became the Chief Helicopter Test Pilot soon after the start of the development of the Sycamore.
After perfecting the Sycamore as the first British certified helicopter,he flew many hours in the company’s Mk.3 demonstrator (popularly known by its last two registration letters “SX” before going on to test the tandem-rotor Type 173 (the first British twin-engine helicopter) and the Type 192 Belvedere.
The Belvedere, a forerunner of the modern Chinook tandem rotor helicopter, was designed after the BAC Helicopter Division relocated to Weston-super-Mare and was first flown at the local airfield in 1957 by ’ Sox’ . He displayed XG447 at the Farnborough show in 1958.