Saturday, January 05, 2013

Sandford Bruce Fleming 1924-1996

Bruce Fleming was a Second World War and Korea fighter pilot. Bruce was a test pilot for Canadair and his last assignment was checking out the Challenger executive jet.

F/O S. B. Fleming was a veteran of World War II, having flown Beaufighters with No. 58 Sqn. RAF. He was attached to the 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing, based at Kimpo, where he joined the 334th Sqn.,While in Korea they were given verbal instructions to complete 50 missions and return home. This was not immediately confirmed in writing, nor was the USAF informed of the 50-mission limit, so Fleming went on to fly 82 missions on sweeps, escort duties, reconnaissance, and interceptions. On 13 May, in the course of escorting an RF-80, he spotted 16 MIGS preparing to attack. He led his element into the first four MIGs, scattering the enemy and sending a few running for Manchuria. He then attacked two MIGs which were firing on the RF-80 and its close escort of two Sabres. One MIG went down and was later assessed as "probably destroyed".
Fleming kept up the fight until the RF-80 had withdrawn safely, and then returned to base, low on fuel and out of ammunition. He also damaged two MIGs during his tour, one on 1 Apr. and the other on 21 May. In addition he scored hits on several ground targets while strafing, an unusual job for the Sabres, whose prime duty was running interference for the bombers and fighter-bombers. Subsequently, F/O Fleming was awarded the American DFC.

He joined Canadair in 1949 as a test pilot after leaving the RCAF. However, he rejoined the RCAF until 1957 when he re-joined Canadair's flight operations department as a test pilot, testing Sabre 6s, T-33s and CL-28s. He went on to test the CF-104 and was involved in an accident of CF-104 (12712) but baled out successfully.