Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Air Commodore Roger Leslie Topp AFC** 1923-2020

Roger Topp, Test Pilot and founder and leader of the Black Arrows Display Team
Roger Topp joined the RAF in 1943 and learned to fly in Canada. When he returned to England in 1944 there was a surplus of powered aircraft pilots so he transferred to the Glider Pilot Regiment. On March 2,1945, he flew a Horsa Glider carrying a jeep,guns and troops in the airbornne crossing of the Rhine. In 1947 he joined 98 Sqn,flying Mosquitos in Germany,becoming a flight commander and instrument flying exami for his wing. He was awarded the Air Force Cross in 1950. In that year he took the course at the ETPS,and remained at Farnborough on the staff of the Royal Aircraft Establishment. He undertook tests of various experimental armament installations,including guided weapons and the new 30mm Aden cannon.

He was a leading aerobatic demostration pilot on the Canberra bomber,flying before the Emperor of Ethiopia and the Shah of Persia during their visits to Britain. In 1954,with another test pilot, shared the 100 hour of intensive flight testing on the Comet airliner undertaken at Farnborough. He was awarded a bar to his AFC in 1955 and a second bar in January 1958 for work with the aerobatic team.