Monday, October 29, 2007

Bgen Dennis B.Sullivan 1927-2020 'Dutch 23'

General Sullivan was born in 1927, in Chippewa Falls, Wis., where he graduated from McDonell High School in 1944. In 1946 he entered the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md., graduating in 1950 with a Bachelor of Science degree and a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. He received a master's degree in international affairs from The George Washington University, Washington, D.C., and is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program for Executives, Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh; the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., and the National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
His initial pilot training began in June 1950 in T-6s at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, and continued in F-80s at Williams Air Force Base, Ariz., and Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.
In January 1952 General Sullivan was assigned to the 80th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, 8th Fighter-Bomber Wing in South Korea, where he flew 100 combat missions in F-80s. After completing his tour of duty in South Korea, he transferred to Truax Field, Wis., and flew F-86 Sabrejets and F-102 Delta Daggers with the 126th, 432nd and 323rd Fighter-Interceptor squadrons. In October 1957 he moved with the 323rd Fighter-Interceptor Squadron to Harmon Air Force Base, Newfoundland, where he continued flying F-102s until September 1960. Following graduation from the Air Command and Staff College in July 1961, General Sullivan served with the 318th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at McChord Air Force Base, Wash., flying F-106s.
From June 1963 to August 1968, General Sullivan was a special projects officer at Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. He was then assigned to Headquarters Aerospace Defense Command, Ent Air Force Base, Colo., as chief, Test Branch, Weapons Division. He attended the National War College and concurrently earned his master's degree in international affairs from The George Washington University from August 1969 to August 1970.
General Sullivan served from August 1970 to August 1972 as director of operations and later vice commander of the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at Beale Air Force Base, Calif., the only Air Force unit flying the SR-71 "Blackbird" strategic reconnaissance aircraft. He then moved to Air Training Command as vice commander of Chanute Technical Training Center, Chanute Air Force Base, Ill., where he served for three years.
In July 1975 General Sullivan took command of the only navigator training wing in the Air Force, the 323rd Flying Training Wing at Mather Air Force Base, Calif. From September 1976 to July 1978, he was assigned as deputy chief of staff for operations at Air Training Command headquarters, Randolph Air Force Base. In this position he was responsible for monitoring and providing staff support to pilot, navigator and survival training programs at 11 bases and several detachments. He then took command of 12th Air Division at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, and assumed his present duties in September 1981.
General Sullivan is a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and a command pilot with 7,000 hours flying experience. His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with one oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal and Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Joe Dobronski 1927-2015

Joe Dobronski was born in the in the mid-1920's in the western hills of Pennsylvania. The grandson of Lithuanian immigrants who fled that country to escape early Bolshevik oppression, Joe became fascinated with flight as a young teenager in the late 30's and early 40's when war seemed imminent and patriotism ran high. During high school, Joe was determined to have an aviation career and initially joined the Army Air Corp as an Army aviation cadet, but the war ended in 1945, ending his short-lived aviation career as well. A young man well acquainted with adversity as he and his family struggled through the great depression, Joe was determined to fly and joined the Navy's V-5 program, a naval aviation college program that took Joe to Worchester Polytechnic Institute and Cornell University. He finally received his coveted Naval Aviator designation in 1947 and flew in the Attack Squadron VA-1L, which later became the Aircraft Development Squadron VX-3 where Joe's spirit was infused with the desire to help develop and test fighter aircraft. After his discharge in 1949 Joe continued his flying career in the Navy reserve until 1954 while simultaneously attending Northrop Aeronautical Institute.
After graduation from the Institute in 1951, he joined McDonnell Aircraft in St Louis as a Flight Test Engineer; became a production test pilot in 1953 flying the F2H Banshee, and was promoted to experimental pilot after graduation from the USAF Test Pilot's School in 1954.
As an experimental test pilot, and later in 1966 as Chief Test Pilot, he helped develop the Demon, Voodoo, Phantom II, Eagle, Harrier, Hornet and other experimental aircraft along with a three jet helicopter. Joe became Director of Test Operations in 1972 and Director of Flight Test and Operations in 1976.
After retiring in 1984, Joe served as Chief Pilot for Wings of Hope, a humanitarian organization where he spent the next fifteen years flying medical missions in Central America and delivering aircraft for missions in Belize, Botswana South Africa, and the Galapagos Islands.With over 1700 flight instructor hours, he is a Fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Jim Hawkins 1939-1986

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Trevor S ' Wimpy' Wade 1920-1951 DFC AFC

Hawker P.1052 flown by Wimpy Wade

Trevor Wade was born on 27th January 1920,and was educated at Tonbridge School. On leaving school at eighteen he joined the RAF and learned to fly at Gatwick. When war came he took an instructor's course. Later he was posted to 92Sqn,equipped with Spitfires,and was in action against the Luftwaffe between May 1940,and October the following year. In the Battle of Britain and subsequent operations he destroyed seven enemy aircraft,and in July 1941 was awarded the DFC.

From 92Sqn ''Wimpy'' (his nickname was borrowed from the American cartoon character of Poeye fame) was posted as an instructor to an Operational Training Unit. After a course at the Central Flying School he became a pilot-gunnery instructor at the Central School of Gunnery. He was appointed as OC Flying at the Air Fighting Development Unit at Duxford. For his important work at the ADFU,he was awarded the AFC.

After the war, he joined the editorial staff of The Aeroplane,but in late 1947, he was approached by Bill Humble who required assistance in production testing of Sea-Furies at Langley. In 1948, Humble was appointed Hawker's sales manager, and Wimpy was appointed Chief Test Pilot.

His first major job was the testing of the straight-wing, nene-powered P.1040, which was the foreeunner of the Seahawk. From the P.1040 he moved to the swept-wing P.1052,with which,in May 1949,he set a new record for the London-Paris flight. On the 19th June 1950,he made the maiden flight of the P.1081 at Farnborough. He demonstrated the aircraft 2 weeks later at the International Air display at Antwerp,and later the same year at SBAC Farnborough.

He was killed on the 3rd April 1951 when the P.1081 he was flying crashed at Norlington,near Lewes Sussex.

Ranald Logan Porteous 1916-1998


Born in 1916 in Edinburgh, Ranald was sent first to West-Hill Park prep-school then on to Canford School. In 1934, Ranald turned down a place at London University to join De-Havilland Technical School where he learned to fly. Studies were interrupted in 1936 when the Anzani motor of a Luton “Buzzard” stopped once too often and deposited Ranald into a tree with a fractured spine amongst other painful disabilities. Also at De-Havilland he met Reggie Ward and Andrew Dalrymple which led to Ranald's subsequent involvment with Chilton Aircraft - test flying the DW1 prototype in 1937. At the end of 1937 Ranald joined the Reserve of Air Force Officers. In 1938 he joined Phillips & Powis which later became Miles Aircraft Ltd., at Reading as a flying instructor and a junior test pilot.

When war broke out Ranald spent 18 months instructing with an EFTS in the UK, followed by a posting to Rhodesia in 1941. Remaining in the Rhodesian Air Training Group until 1945, Ranald finally become President of the Central Examination Board.
Post war, Ranald went charter flying, including flying an Airspeed Consul from the UK to South Africa in 4 days. In 1947 Ranald became CFI and Club Secretary of Derby Aero-Club and flew his own Chilton ('GH) and also the Train engined DW1A ('SV). In 1947 Ranald flew the latter in the Folkstone Trophy and, by flying an extra lap also took the International 100Km Closed Circuit Speed Record - Class A.
1948 Ranald joined Auster Aircraft Ltd as Sales Representative and Chief Test Pilot where his flying exploits are perhaps best known.
In particular before the 1951 Farnborough airshow, Ranald was working on his display routine-"Finding that Farnborough was upon us and not wishing to be accused of serving up the mixture as before, I took up one of our new Aiglet Trainers shortly before lunch at Rearsby, determined to piece together a different and hopefully improved routine. After some thought and practice I proved to my own satisfaction that the Aiglet's quite remarkably crisp characteristics enabled it to flick reliably from inverted to inverted at the top of the loop, and decided to try this out on the dog. Arriving back over Rearsby Airfield I saw my colleagues and the workforce generally streaming towards the canteen for lunch, and entertained them overhead for a few minutes, including a few of my new-found 'Avalanches'. After landing I strolled over to join Frank Bates, my Managing Director, and asked him if he had noticed what I had been doing and whether he thought this strange manoeuvre would look effective at Farnborough. He looked at me quizzically and said: 'Are you trying to tell me that was intentional?'" Later, much to Ranald's surprise, the “Avalanche” became known as the “Porteous loop”.
1951 Continuing the theme of Austers and aerobatics, Ranald won the Crazy Flying Championship during the Indian National Air rally.
1952 On a sales trip to Japan Ranald gave a display at an airfield named Tamagawa. Following this he was asked to lead the procession of light aircraft over the centre of Tokyo in honour of Prince Akihito's coming of Age. The arrangement was that Ranald would break off over the centre of the city and perform some aerobatics – seeing the Imperial Palace Ranald gave a display so that the bottom of the dives and loops were virtually within the space enclosed by the palace walls. All ended well and Ranald was made an honorary member of the Japanese Pilots' Brotherhood.
In 1955 Ranald entered the Lockheed Aerobatic Competition where he was placed 4th whilst flying an Auster J5L Aiglet. This was remarkable, not for the placing per se, but in that it was achieved in a standard Aiglet which was pitted against much more sophisticated aerobatic aircraft.

Auster and Miles merged to become Beagle in 1961. Ranald left Beagle in 1968 when Beagle “went bust”, and moved up to Scotland to join Scottish Aviation Ltd (SAL) in January 1969. Whilst at SAL, Ranald became Director of Marketing where his wide experience and professionalism was vital in the Bulldog achieving about 100 orders from a number of countries against stiff, usually much cheaper, opposition. Ranald left SAL in 1976, along with a number of other directors, when Scottish Aviation was about to become part of British Aerospace.
Ranald then joined Fairey Britten-Norman in January 1977 eventually retiring in 1981.
As well as his aviation exploits Ranald used to sing, sometimes in peoples' front rooms and on one occasion, broadcast on the B.B.C.'s African programme. He loved poetry and wrote extensively, but very privately, work which a few privileged and knowledgeable readers have held in very high regard. He frequently stopped conversations by smilingly describing himself as 'Scotland's Greatest Living Poet.' Here is an example:-

Warsaw 1944
We shall not raise a statue to each one,
Nor mock his glory with some brazen plaque;
No act of ours can cancel what is done, -
No triumph of our arms can bring them back.
But, when the bats of hate are on the wing
And sombre shadows still the soul of Man,
Beyond the tumult there's a murmuring;
Take heed, - take heart; and hear it if you can.
Theirs was the courage, when they raised their voice,
Articulate for all to short a spell -
Theirs the decision, when they made their choice,
Spoke for the angels in the courts of Hell.
The wheel of history will turn again; -
Their sacrifice shall not have been in vain.
Ranald died on 5th November 1998 in Ayr, Scotland.

Gp Capt Richard Gordon Slade OBE 1912-1981

Group Captain R.Gordon Slade was O.C. of the Testing Flight at Boscombe Down. He was responsible for carrying out the RAF (A&AEE) proving trials on all the Mosquito prototypes until October 1941. He was given command of the first Mosquito fighter Squadron 157,which was formed at Debden on Dec 13 1941. On Aug 22 1942 while flying in DD612,he shot down a Dornier DO217. During the last year of the war, he commanded Raf Swannington in 100 Group with 85 and 157 Mosquito Squadrons.

After the war he became Chief Test Pilot and Superintendent of Flying with Fairey Aviation, and flew the maiden flights on the Fairey FD1, VX350 on 10 March 1951 and the Fairey Gannet. He was involved in the establishment of a new World Absolute Speed Record of 1132 miles per hour by a Fairey Delta II, which was piloted by Peter Twiss in 1956. He was awarded and OBE in 1957.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

George Arthur Neal 1919-2016

George Arthur Neal was born in Toronto, Ontario, on November 21, 1919, receiving his education at Dublin Public School, Earl Haig Collegiate and one term at Northern Vocational in Toronto. After serving an apprenticeship from 1933-38, George qualified as a licenced Auto and Aero Engine Mechanic. During 1935 he learned to fly with the Toronto Flying Club. In 1938 George joined de Havilland Aircraft of Canada as an AEM. In 1942 he joined the RCAF and was posted to 10 AOS, serving as Pilot, Flight Commander, Test Pilot and Assistant Maintenance Superintendant until 1945. After his discharge he rejoined DHC in 1946 as an AEM, becoming a Test Pilot in 1947, Chief Test Pilot in 1948, Chief Experimental Pilot, Chief Production Pilot and in February 1975, Manager, Flight Operations.
George has accumulated 13,500 flying hours on over 85 differnet types of landplane, seaplane, skiplane, amphibian, flying boat, single prop, multi prop, turbo prop, jet, helicopter and glider. He has flown in 38 different countries, the furthest north being Thule, Greenland, and the furthest south Punta Arenas, Chile. He has flown the Atlantic four times via Santo Maria and once via Iceland and operated in temperatures from -30°F to +120°F.
George did the Prototype testing on the Chipmunk, Beaver, Turbo Beaver, Otter and Caribou. He carried out the First experimental STOL work on the single engine Otter with blown elevator and rudder, and extra large flap, demonstrating the aircraft at Rockcliffe. He pioneered and demonstrated STOL characteristics in the Beaver, Otter and Caribou to customers from all over the world.

Robert H. Fowler 1922-2011

L-R DeHavilland Canada President Bernhard Bundesman with Bob Fowler and Mick Saunders

Bob Fowler has had a varied and interesting flying career. During WW2, he flew 44 Opeartional missions with 226Sqn,flying B-25 Mitchells. Post war he flew a P-38 Lightning performing Magnetic surveys and high altitude photography for Spartan in Ottawa, this helped give Robert Fowler a name in the aviation field.

In 1952, he was hired by de Havilland of Canada where he spent much time testing new aircraft models. He flew several maiden flights ffor de Havilland Canada, including the DHC-6 Twin Otter, DHCT-2 Turbo Beaver,DHC-5 Buffalo,DHC-7 DASH-7 and DHC-8 DASH 8. In addition to these first flights, he also flew several first flights with new engines such as the Pratt &Whitney YPT6a turboprop engine

Bob Fowler has also played a major role in the development of flight controls and propeller systems which led to de Havilland becoming a leader in the production of STOL aircraft. This work was later followed by his research in modulated jet thrust. He was involved with NASA AMES Resarch center flying the Augmenter Wing Flight Research Vehicle,which was developed from a heavily modified prototype Buffalo and also the QSJRA,Quiet Shorthaul Research AIrcraft,which was a swept upper-wing,surface blowing study.

Russell Bannock DSO DFC* 1919-2020

Russell Bannock, born in Edmonton in 1919, had worked as a commercial pilot before the Second World War even got started.
After entering the Royal Canadian Air Force, he received his wings in 1940 and was appointed flight commander. Bannock was an instructor at Trenton, Ontario before he began flying for the Royal Air Force Ferry Command in June 1942.This posting ended in August.
In September, Bannock became a chief instructor at the Flying Instructor School at Arnprior, Ontario. Bannock then formally requested to go overseas and his request was granted in 1944 when he was transferred to Number 60 Operational Training Unit based in Ercall, Shropshire, England.
Once Bannock’s operational training was complete, he was transferred to 418 Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) flying intruder missions over Europe in the Mosquito. He quickly achieved his first victories and was promoted to the rank of flight commander. Soon he was promoted again to wing commander, and in October 1944, took full command of 418 Squadron.
Bannock was primarily responsible for shooting down German V-1 "flying bombs" that were causing havoc in London and southern England. On one mission alone he shot down four V-1s in one hour. Another of his talents was carrying out intruder missions against enemy airfields, for which he was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC). A bar for his DFC was added for his effective missions against the V-1s.
Bannock was transferred to 406 Squadron in November 1944 as the commanding officer, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) as an outstanding leader.
By April 1945, Bannock was given the title, "The Saviour of London," for destroying 11 enemy aircraft and 19 and one-half V-1 "flying bombs." He was also acknowledged as the RCAF’s top night fighter during WWII.
Bannock later became the director of operations, RCAF Overseas Headquarters, in London in May 1945. He remained in this position until September 1945 when he attended the Royal Air Force Staff College.
Retiring from the air force in 1946, he accepted a position at de Havilland Aircraft Company as chief test pilot and operations manager. He was the first to fly prototypes of aircraft like the Beaver and other short take-off and landing aircraft. In 1950, Bannock took the position of director of military sales, and later became vice president. He remained with de Havilland until 1968 when he established his own consulting business, Bannock Aerospace Ltd.
In 1956, Bannock was appointed an associate fellow of the Canadian Aeronautical Institute. He was chairman of the Canadian Aerospace Industries Association’s Export Committee from 1964 to 1968, and was its director from 1976 to 1977.
Bannock also held the positions of president of the Canadian Fighter Pilots Association, the director of the Canadian Industrial Preparedness Association, and the Canadian Exporters Association. He was known as the second highest scoring Canadian fighter pilot of the Second World War.