Captain (RN) Eric "Winkle" Brown

His original book, Wings on my Sleeve, is well worth a read.
I was browsing in The Works in a vague hope of finding something readable. I spied a book with an Me109 with RAF roundels on the cover & thought "What the fcuk is this?" only to be pleasantly surprised to find it was that very book. A bargain at £3 and you're right it is superb. You could open it at any page & find something instantly interesting to read.
 

diverman

LE
Book Reviewer
Captain brown is but one of a long list of great British test pilots and people who followed him like John Farley, Bill Bedford, Peter Twiss, John Derry, Rolly Beaumont and Brian Trubshaw to name but a few.
 
Captain brown is but one of a long list of great British test pilots and people who followed him like John Farley, Bill Bedford, Peter Twiss, John Derry, Rolly Beaumont and Brian Trubshaw to name but a few.

While not wishing to denigrate any of those brave men that you cite in any way, IMHO 'Winkle' Brown is in a class of his own.
 

Yokel

LE
Captain Brown started his operational life as a naval pilot, flying Grumman Wildcat fighters from the first of the escort carriers, HMS Audacity.

Not only did he splash a couple of German Condor long range aircraft that both did reconnaissance for the U boats and could bomb shipping themselves - which was the first of many escort carriers that were key in winning the war in the Atlantic, but he was also involved in training new Pilots in carrier landing techniques, and then trialling new carriers and aircraft.

A huge contribution to naval aviation and winning the war at sea - and that was before arrived at Farnborough.
 

diverman

LE
Book Reviewer
While not wishing to denigrate any of those brave men that you cite in any way, IMHO 'Winkle' Brown is in a class of his own.
I totally agree with you, a very skilled and brave man, even flying an Me 163 Komet.....utter madness IMHO. Imagine as a test pilot having all those captured aircraft to fly and test, probably a dream come true which those today will never experience.
 

Yokel

LE
Captain Brown started his operational life as a naval pilot, flying Grumman Wildcat fighters from the first of the escort carriers, HMS Audacity.

Not only did he splash a couple of German Condor long range aircraft that both did reconnaissance for the U boats and could bomb shipping themselves - which was the first of many escort carriers that were key in winning the war in the Atlantic, but he was also involved in training new Pilots in carrier landing techniques, and then trialling new carriers and aircraft.

A huge contribution to naval aviation and winning the war at sea - and that was before arrived at Farnborough.

Whilst it is perhaps bad form to quote oneself, Winkle's contribution to developing the escort carrier in the Atlantic and Arctic battles, with Swordfish for anti U boat operations and fighters for fighting off air attack, should not be underestimated.

This is from Chapter Four of Wings On My Sleeve by Eric 'Winkle' Brown:

I was posted to 768 Deck Landing Training Squadron at Arbroath to carry out the first attempt at getting a Hurricane aboard an escort carrier. Hurricanes had been operating successfully from the of fleet carriers. I had to find out if the same thing could be done with a deck half the length, with six arrestor wires instead of ten. My first reaction was to be hopping made at having to leave my old Audacity pals when we seemed on the verge of another spell of action together.

The Martlets from America were in limited supply and there were no specially designed deck landing fighters in Britain, so necessity demanded that the high performance RAF Hurricanes and Spitfires be adapted for the deck. Their design, their performance at low speeds, and their strength all left much to be desired for deck landing. Their long noses gave the pilot a very poor view of the deck, and their undercarriages were brittle things lacking the shock absorbing characteristics of the Martlet's. But we had to have them. They were fast, with terrific fire power. The Navy simply stuck and arrestor hook on them and played it by ear.

The Hurricane's hook was halfway up the fuselage, whereas the Martlet had hers right in the tail, where it had the best opportunity of engaging a wire. You had to make a perfect three point landing in a Hurricane, or you missed the wires, or the hook bounced clear of them.

I did the trials from the first of the 'Woolworth Carriers', the adapted merchantmen which we were able to get from America, the
Avenger. To my delight I found that with reasonable care the Hurricane could be operated from these little flat tops quite successfully. They were not ideal, but they were better than the slow and stately Skuas and Fulmars. Pilots would be able to catch Focke-Wulfs with them and on the Russian convoys do battle confidently with the nippy Junkers 88s.
 

Yokel

LE
If he was American, some sort of facility would have been named after Winkle Brown. Probably something to do with deck landing training or ship aircraft integration.

It was during his time flying from HMS Audacity that his exceptional talent for deck landing was identified. This is what led to him being sent to train pilots desperately needed for the war at sea, and led to him doing doing trials on new aircraft and new carriers. This is what led him to test flying.

He did the first ever landing of a twin engined aircraft on a carrier and the first carrier landing of a jet aircraft. He was involved in early helicopter trials (and the Royal Navy was the first to use helicopters operationally at sea), work with the early naval jets, demonstrated the Steam Catapult to the Americans, and helped arm the Navy for the Cold War.

Then he was involved with developing the flight deck layout for CVA-01 - the carrier that got cancelled in the sixties. He also had an involvement in the deck layout of the current Queen Elizabeth class carriers.
 
Captain brown is but one of a long list of great British test pilots and people who followed him like John Farley, Bill Bedford, Peter Twiss, John Derry, Rolly Beaumont and Brian Trubshaw to name but a few.
I'm being pedantic now, but it's Roland Beamont. His surname is often spelt incorrectly.
 

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