Saturday, January 31, 2009

Iain Young

Iain Young,Chief test pilot Marshall Aerospace
First flight of the TP400 Powwer plant on the Lockheed C-130K Test bed, flown by Iain Young and Mark Robinson.

The TP400 power-plant developed for the A400M by EuroProp International (EPI) took to the air for the first time on 17th December 2008 on the Lockheed C-130K flight test-bed. The TP400 is installed on the inner left engine mount of the C-130K which is otherwise powered by three of the usually four Allison T56 turbopropellers. The aircraft took off at 10h44 local time from Cambridge airfield (UK) where Marshall Aerospace, which is conducting the flight test-bed trials, is based, and touched down at 11 h59 local time. The flight lasted one hour and 15 minutes.

Iain Young graduated with a degree in electronics in 1968 and joined the Royal Air Force in 1972. He trained as a test pilot in 1981 at the Empire Test Pilots’ School,Boscombe Down where he subsequently served as Principal Tutor. He retired from the RAF in 1989 to join Pilatus Britten-Norman (PBN), manufacturers of the Islander series of aircraft, as Head of Flight Operations. Following a period as an Inspector of Air Accidents with the UK Air Accident Investigation Branch, he joined Marshall Aerospace as a test pilot and was appointed Chief Test Pilot in August 1999. He holds full civil and military test flying approvals but also has a keen interest in Light Aviation and is a Flight Instructorand Examiner. Iain is Managing Director of Marshall Executive Aviation, former Chair of the Royal Aeronautical Society Flight Test Group committee, Chair of the Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC) Flight Operations Committee, and member of the Farnborough International Airshow Flying Control Committee.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Capt Arthur Stuart Keep MC xxxx - 1952

Arthur Stewart Keep joined the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in September, 1914, and went overseas with it in November, 1915. He was invalided home in 1916 and transferred to the R.F.C., gaining his wings in August 1916. Until January 1917 he was engaged in ferrying aircraft and then went overseas as a test pilot. In January 1918 he was posted to No. 55 Sqn, Independent Air Force, stationed in Alsace-Lorraine and equipped with D.H.4S. He took part in daylight bombing raids on Mannheim, Coblenz, and other targets and was awarded the Military Cross after the famous Cologne raid,at that time the longest daylight bombing operation of the
1914-18 war. He was wounded and invalided home in July, 1918. Shortly after the Armistice he was sent to Westland Aircraft as Air Ministry test pilot and, on demobilization in 1919, joined the
company as their test pilot. In this capacity he carried out all the flying of the Weasel, a two-seat fighter biplane powered by a 320 h.p. A.B.C. Dragonfly; the Limousine, a four-seat cabin
biplane fitted witfi a 275 h.p. Rolls-Royce Falcon engine; and the Westland six-seater (450 h.p. Napier Lion), with which he won the first prize of £7,500 in the small-aeroplane class of the
Air Ministry competition for commercial aircraft, held at Martlesham Heath in the autumn of 1920.
He also flew the Walrus, a carrier-borne reconnaissance biplane for the Royal Navy. Basically a D.H. 9a, but with the Liberty motor replaced by a Napier Lion, the Walrus had flotation bags
and an observation blister, and carried a crew of three. The test machine with which Capt. Keep was actively concerned was the Dreadnought "postal monoplane," powered by a single Napier Lion and embodying the "flying wing" theories of M. Woyevodsky, a Russian inventor. The initial test flight took place in May 1924 and ended in disaster, owing to control difficulties.
Keep was seriously injured and had to have both legs amputated. Although this misfortune ended his active flying, he continued with Westland as technical superintendent, later becoming a director of Petters, Ltd. (to take over whose aircraft branch the Westland company was formed in 1935), until his retirement in 1935.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Basil H. Arkell 1918-2009

Basil Henry Arkell served with the R.A.F. Coastal Command during World War 2 and later with 529 Rota Squadron. After the war he attained the World Speed Record for Rotary Winged Aircraft while working with Fairey Aviation as a test pilot. On 28 June 1948, flown by test pilot Basil Arkell, the Gyrodyne made two flights in each direction over a 3km course at White Waltham, achieving 200km/h, enough to secure the record.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bruce Warren DFC 1922-1951

Identical twins Bruce and Douglas Warren were born in Nanton in 1922. Joining the Royal Canadian Air Force at age 18, they completed their elementary flying training at No5 EFTS at High River. During their training they often flew over their hometown of Nanton. As part of No. 165 Squadron they flew Spitfire fighters on three sorties in support of the Canadian Army at Dieppe, sharing in the destruction of a DO217 bomber.

During 1944, the twins served as Spitfire pilots with No. 66 Squadron where Bruce was "A" Flight Commander and Douglas was "B" Flight Commander. They both had the nickname "Duke" and were known a "Duke Mk I" and "Duke Mk II." Having identical twins as flight commanders on the same squadron was a unique situation. The majority of the pilots could not tell the twins apart but this was no problem as they assumed whoever was giving them orders knew which flight they were commanding. In March, 1945 the identical twins were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross by King George VI.

Following the war, Bruce Warren continued his career with the RCAF. He was an ETPS graduate and was granted 2 years leave from the RCAF to join AVRO Canada to assist in the flight test program of the CF-100. He flew the No2 prototype 18102 but was killed in the crash of that prototype in 1951 when the aircraft suffered an oxygen system malfunction. The CF-100 was the only Canadian designed and manufactured fighter aircraft to see operational use.

He had flown over 2,200 hours on 28 aircraft types.

Boone T. Guyton 1913-1996

Boone T. Guyton was an experimental test pilot at Chance Vought during and after World War II, flew 105 types of aircraft in 45 years as a pilot.

John J M Jeffrey

John J M Jeffrey served in the FAA from 1940 to 1946. Helicopter instructor's course in the US becoming helicopter instructor and test pilot at the Aerial Torpedo Development Unit Instructor and senior helicopter test pilot at the Air/Sea Warfare Development Unit, 1945-46. Helicopter test pilot with Saunders-Roe since 1950, flying Skeeter and P 531, he moved to White Waltham in 1962 and left the company in 1964.

Harry Phillips 1920-2002

Harry Phillips was Lieutenant Commander of 845Sqn Fleet Air Arm. He joined Saunders Roe in 1958 as a Helicopter Test Pilot, after the Westland move (1962) he continued with Saunders-Roe division testing Hovercraft and retired in 1971.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Colin W. Hague OBE

Colin Hague joined the Royal Navy in 1962 as helicopter pilot. After completion of his training, he was posted to 845 Commando Sqn flying the Wessex 1 during the Borneo confrontation.
Between 1965-67 he flew with 826 A/S Squadron flying the Wessex 1 from HMS Hermes, completeing a Middle and Far East Tour. Between 1968-1973, he served as a Wasp Pilot,Flight Commander on HMS Yarmouth.
In 1972 he attended the ETPS. After course completion he became a test pilot at Boscombe Down. He performed initial trials on the Gazelle,Lynx and Seaking. He carried out the first Lynx deck landings and icing trials in Canada. He was awarded the Qeens Commendation for Valuable Services in the Air. He was the Senior Pilot of the first Lynx Squadron, 700L.

He joined Westland Helicopters as a test pilot in 1979 where he carried out development and production test flying on Gazelle,Lynx,Seaking and Westland WG30.
In 1987 along with Chief Test Pilot Trevor Egginton, he made the maiden flight of the EH101 PP1.
He was appointed Deputy Chief Test Pilot in 1986 and in 1988 became the Chief Test Pilot. He served in the position for the next 15 years, overseeing the development of the EH101 Merlin including first flights of all prototypes, and introduction into service. He carried out the first deck landing trials. In 2003 he was awarded an OBE for his services to Aviation.

Kenneth Martin Reed 1921-1998

Ken Reed served with Imperial Airways before joining the Fleet Air Arm in 1941. Two years later he took a Helicopter Flying Course in the USA and in 1944 a helicopter maintenance test pilots course. He formed No1 Royal Navy Helicopter Flight in 1945 and 2 years later formed and commanded N0705 Sqn. In 1949 he joined Westland Aircraft as Senior Helicopter Test Pilot and in 1951 flew the first British Helicopter Passenger Service between London and Birmingham. In 1952 he joined Saunders-Roe as Senior Helicopter Test Pilot and was appointed Chief Helicopter test Pilot in 1958. He was involved with the SARO SKeeter and P.531. He became the first Helicopter Pilot to be awarded a GAPAN Master Air Pilot (Test Pilot) certificate.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Robert M. DeHaven 1922-2008

DeHaven was born Jan. 13, 1922, in San Diego. He graduated from North Hollywood High School and attended Washington and Lee University in Virginia until he joined the Army Air Forces in early 1942.

In 1943 he was assigned to the 7th Fighter Squadron of the 49th Fighter Group stationed at Dobodura, New Guinea. According to the Seattle-based American Fighter Aces Assn., on Dec. 10, 1943, DeHaven shot down 10 Japanese aircraft in offensives over Buna, Lae, Markham Valley, Hollandia and Biak islands and officially became an ace, the term used in military aviation circles to designate a pilot who destroys or disables several enemy planes during combat.

During seven days beginning in late October 1944, DeHaven downed four more enemy planes in the Philippines, bringing his total tally to 14.

He received several medals, including the Silver Star with one Oak Leaf Cluster, which was awarded after he saved a fellow pilot whose plane was surrounded by Japanese fighters.

After the war, the handsome aviator was spotted by a talent agent and signed a contract with Columbia Pictures. He made minor appearances in three movies before giving up on acting. He met Howard Hughes, who offered DeHaven a job as his personal pilot and as a test pilot for his aircraft company. DeHaven later rose to director of the flight test division. He retired in the 1980s.

Al W.Conover 1920-1949

The one and only Ryan Model 29 was simply a Model 28 with a fin fillet and it’s radial piston engine replaced by a General Electric 1700shp T100 T31-GE-2 Turboprop driving a Hamilton Standard four blade Super Hydromatic propeller while still retaining the General Electric I16 turbojet in the tail. First flown in November ’46 a turboprop height record of 39,160’ was achieved by test pilot Al Conover. The Dark Shark had a top speed of 500 mph compared with 404 mph for the Fireball.

Gordon Gray 1923-2007

Gordon Gray joined the US Navy in 1942. He was a graduate of NATC TPT Class 13 in 1955. The same year he set a 500km closed course speed record flying the A-4D Skyhawk.

He was involved in the flight testing of S2F,A-4D,F-4D,F-3H,F7U and A3D. After his test tour at NATC he returned to fleet service as an F-8 Crusader pilot. He retired from the USN with the rank of Captain.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Colonel Jerauld R. "Jerry" Gentry 1936-2003

Jerry Gentry logged 4,500 flight hours in more than 50 different fighter, trainer, bomber and research planes.

Serving as Chief USAF pilot of the joint USAF/NASA Lifting Body Research Program, he flew the first flight of the X-24A, the second of the HL-10, and he was selected to pilot the first rocket-powered flight of both. Gentry was the Project Pilot for the F-4E performance, stability and control and spin tests. He also tested the M2-F2, F-4C/D, F-104, F-111 and F-5.

Gentry served for five years as the Tactical Air Command fighter pilot before becoming a test pilot and flew more than 200 combat missions in Southeast Aria. Later he held the positions of Director of Operations of the F-15 and F-4E Tactical Fighter Wings, Commander of Red Flag and Commander of the first operational F-16 Tactical Fighter Wing.

Gentry represented the USAF Headquarters as the F-16 Program Element Monitor, Deputy Director for General Purpose Forces, Directorate of Operational Requirements and as Deputy Chief of Staff for Research, Development and Acquisition. He also served as the principal U.S. representative to the NATO Air Forces Armament Group.

A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, who holds an M.S. in Aerospace Management from the University of Southern California, Gentry has received the Silver Star, two Legion of Merits, two Distinguished Flying Crosses and 14 Air Medals.

Leslie 'Cowboy' Ralph Tower 1902-1935

The first flight of the Model 299 was on 28 July 1935, with Boeing chief test-pilot Leslie Tower at the controls.

Leslie Ralph Tower, moved to Polson in 1910, the son of original homesteader Ralph Tower. After graduating from Polson High School, he eventually began work at Boeing. He became the company's chief test pilot. When the company rolled out their prototype Model 299 aircraft in 1935, Les flew what would become known as "the flying fortress," or B-17, from Seattle to Dayton, Ohio, averaging 232 miles per hour during the 2,100 mile route.
"Upon arrival in Dayton, he was surprised that no Army Air Corps officials greeted him," Tom said. "The reason? They expected him to arrive several hours later."
On Oct. 30, 1935, Tower made the ill-fated, last minute decision to accompany an Army test pilot on a flight as a passenger in the B-17 in Dayton, where he had remained to test the aircraft. The plane took off at an awkward angle and reached 300 feet of altitude before crashing and burning. The pilot died on impact but Tower and other occupants survived the crash. Tower was badly burned and died 10 days later from his injuries.

William Ken Ebel 1899-1972


Ken Ebel flew the maiden flight of the Martin B-26 Marauder on 25th November 1940.

Edmund T. 'Eddie' Allen 1896-1943

Boeing XB-29
Boeing 307 Stratoliner

-->This cachet was flown by and signed by Eddie Allen in the Boeing 307 NX19902 Clipper Rainbow, on the first pressurized flight on June 20, 1939.
Edmund Turney "Eddie" Allen, a pioneer of modern flight test and arguably one of the greatest test pilots ever, flew for nearly every major aircraft manufacturer and took some of the most famous planes of all time up for their first flights. His flying and engineering skills were so well-regarded that some insurance companies would insure test flights only if Allen was at the controls.
Allen was born in Chicago on Jan. 4, 1896, and attended the University of Illinois. As a Lieutenant in the Signal Corps during World War I, he served as a pilot instructor and was also assigned to flight testing at McCook Field in Ohio. After the war, he attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and in the summers was chief test pilot for the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics at Langley Field in Virginia.
In 1925, he became an air mail pilot for Boeing Air Transport and also served as a test pilot for the various aircraft manufacturers that made up United Aircraft and Transport Corporation.
In 1934, Allen went to the fledgling North American Aviation and took its first airplane, the NA-16 trainer, on its first flight. As a freelance pilot, Allen contributed to flight testing of the Douglas DC-1 and was the first to fly the Curtiss C-46 Commando, the Boeing XB-15, XB-29, 307 Stratoliner, 314 Clipper and the Lockheed C-69 Constellation.
In April 1939, Boeing gave him a permanent position as the head of the company's Research Division, and direct charge of all flight testing and of aerodynamics and wind tunnel research. Even this permanent position at Boeing did not stop the Army Air Force from borrowing Eddie Allen for the first flight of the Lockheed Constellation.
Allen was not the image of the daredevil test pilot that Hollywood promoted. In contrast, he was very slender, and some described him as frail. He considered himself an engineer as well as a pilot and insisted that the test pilot should be involved in the development of new aircraft and not just in flying them. Allen developed a systematic approach to flight testing and set standards that are the basis for modern flight testing. He also formed a dedicated flight-test and aeronautical research organization at Boeing and insisted that the company develop its own high-speed wind tunnel--an idea that was directly responsible for Boeing being in position to take the leadership in the development of large swept-wing jets.
As the United States became involved in World War II, Boeing was awarded a contract to build the most technologically advanced airplane of the war: the B-29 Superfortress. Of course, Allen was the test pilot.
On Sept. 21, 1942, Allen took the first XB-29 on its initial flight and continued as the program's chief pilot until Feb. 18, 1943. On that date, during approach to Boeing Field, an engine fire led to the crash of the XB-29, which claimed the life of Allen and 10 other crew members.
Allen is remembered not only as an unmatched pilot but also as an outstanding scientist. Losing him was devastating not only to the people of Boeing but to the aviation world. Time magazine wrote: "Eddie Allen, who had no peer in his combination of piloting virtuosity and engineering skill...probably no other man in aviation could be so hardly spared."
Eddie Allen's contributions were recognized with some of aviation's greatest awards, including the very first Chanute award in 1939. In 1942, he was selected to present the prestigious Wright Brothers lecture.
He was posthumously awarded the Daniel Guggenheim award, and The Boeing Company dedicated its high-speed wind tunnel and aeronautical research laboratories to him.

Marshall E. 'Babe' Headle 1893-1945

Paul Mantz, Amelia Earhart and Marshall Headle

Marshall Headle was born March 21, 1893 at Winthrop, MA. He attended the Massachusetts Agricultural College and graduated with a B.S. in 1913. He served in WWI, learning to fly at Tours, France in 1917 and served as a flight instructor until 1919. His resume tersely cites “misc. flying” between 1920 and 1924 (although the Blue Book of Aviation, 1932 cites him as serving with the U.S. Embassy in Paris, France between 1919 and 1922), and “U.S. Marines” from 1924 to 1929.

Beginning in 1929 he resigned from the Marines and flew for the Lockheed Aircraft Company, succeeding Wiley Post as test pilot. He became Chief Pilot in Charge of Flight Operations in 1930 and served in that capacity throughout the decade.

He made several first flights including the Lockheed YP-38 on the 17th September 1940.

As of mid-1941 he had accumulated 7,200 flight hours and had flown over 300aircraft types. He died May 4, 1945 of a heart attack at Burbank,California.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

George A. Rodney 1921-1996

George Albert Rodney, a Carnegie Institute of Technology mechanical engineer with an Aero option won his Army Air Corps wings at Liberal, Kansas during WW2. He started his aerospace career in Baltimore with Glenn L. Martin Co. in 1945 as an aerodynamicist and was soon talked into becoming a Test Pilot. George became one of Martin`s most skilled and famous Test Pilots and in 41 years figured prominently in engineering, test and quality control on most of Martin`s major programs. His favorite was the P-6 Seamaster Jet seaplane. George put on a P-6 demonstration for Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Arleigh Burke and his guest First Sea Lord Earl Mountbatten at Middle River on the Chesapeke Bay in 1954. He was director of mission success at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in Louisianna for the space shuttle's external tank. He held a similiar position during the NASA Skylab program at the Martin Marietta Denver facility.From 1986 to 1992, Rodney was NASA's associate administrator for safety, reliability and quality assurance. The job was created after the 1986 Challenger explosion because an independent commission said NASA's safety program was too silent

Melvin Relvin 'Dutch' Gelvin 1915-1978

Orville Edwin ' Pat' Tibbs 1909-1982

O.E Pat Tibbs (left) with E.R. 'Dutch Gelvin and un-identified

O.E Pat Tibbs (right) E.R. 'Dutch Gelvin and un-identified.

Pat Tibbs was the Chief Test Pilot of the Martin Aircraft Company. He made the maiden flights of many aircraft, including these listed below

AM-1 Mauler performed its initial flight on 26 August 1944

XP4M-1 "Mercator" performed its initial flight on 20 September 1946

XB-48 performed its initial flight on 22 June 1947

XB-51 performed its initial flight on 28 October 1949

B-57A performed its initial flight on 20 July 1953