On a sadder note: Britain’s leading navy test pilot and rocket plane test flier Eric “Winkle” Brown passes away

by | Feb 22, 2016 | History, On a Sadder Note, Technology | 0 comments

During February the death of Eric “Winkle” Brown, age 97, was announced. Having briefly served in the Royal Air Force, Brown had transferred to the Senior Service to become the leading test pilot in the Royal Navy. “Winkle” Brown, whose nickname referred to his short stature, became the Royal Navy’s most decorated pilot.

Brown test flew nearly every aircraft employed during World War II, including a captured Me-163B Komet rocket plane, which he regarded as an exhilarating high-performance death-trap due to its volatile rocket propellants. But his most distinctive role was to perfect carrier landing techniques with jet aircraft. He survived 11 plane crashes and the sinking of HMS Audacity in 1941.

The Scottish-born Brown, who was a fluent German speaker, used this talent at the end of World War II to interrogate the Luftwaffe leader and leading Nazi, Herman Goering, and to restore his connection with the famous German test flying aviatrix, Hanna Reitsch, whom he had met before the war. Brown himself witnessed the evil of the Nazi regime when he was at the liberation of the Bergen Belsen concentration camp.

As a post-war test pilot, Brown was contempory with the likes of Chuck Yaeger and Neil Armstrong. Brown declared that he was not envious of US fighter pilots who later became astronauts.  However Brown did note wish he could have flown the US hypersonic research aircraft, the X-15, which was once the mount of Neil Armstrong.

Seradata gives its condolences to Winkle Brown’s family and friends.

Post Script: Just a short note of tribute to actor George Kennedy who has passed away at the age of 91. In addition to playing menacing tough guys in his film career, including an Oscar-winning performance in Cool Hand Luke (1967), Kennedy also played Joe Patroni, the ground engineer who you would not want to be without, in the excellent Airport movie of 1970.  That film and its not-so-good successors which Kennedy also starred in, were later parodied by the Airplane comedy franchise which Kennedy declined to take part in.

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned Seradata database. Trusted by over 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, Seradata is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to https://www.seradata.com/product/

Related Articles

Fleet Space raises US$33 million for satellite enabled mineral exploration

Australian newspace company Fleet Space Technologies has secured AUS $50 million (US $33 million) in a Series C fundraising round Read more

Blue Origin gets NASA’s vote for second cryogenic lunar lander which will be under much less time pressure than SpaceX

Having lost out in the competition to produce NASA’s initial lunar lander for its Human Landing System (HLS), Blue Origin’s Read more

Thales Alenia Space wins US$256 million Italian contract for servicing demo mission

Thales Alenia Space has secured a US$256 million (€235m) contract from the Italian Space Agency (ASI) to develop a dedicated Read more

JUICE finally manages to get its radar antenna out but there is no joy for hobbled Lunar Flashlight

ESA’s JUICE (JUpiter ICy-moon Explorer) mission, built by Airbus, which is planned to make detailed observations of Jupiter and its Read more

China’s mini-Shuttle lands after its second flight

After spending 276 days in orbit, China’s unmanned mini-shuttle/spaceplane, dubbed the CSSHQ 1, landed on 8 May following its second Read more

Orbit Fab raises US$28.5 million for satellite refuelling services

Orbit Fab has raised US$28.5 million in a Series A funding round to propel forward its first missions to provide Read more

Gold rush for lunar comms attracts Lockheed Martin which sets up subsidiary to operate satellite relay pair

While landings on the Moon have been done before and are now regarded as a known technology, something not previously Read more

Seven IRIDE SAR and optical satellites order goes to Thales Alenia Space

European space manufacturer Thales Alenia Space has been awarded a contract to build seven satellites for the Italian IRIDE constellation. Read more

Categories

Archives

Tags

nasaspacexecoreviewsissesaArianespacevideochina25virgin galacticfalcon 9ULARoscosmosFalcon 9v1.2FT Block 5DGAevaaviation weekspacewalkaressoyuzIGTBeidouawardsInternational Space StationspaceBlue OriginSatellite broadcastingrussiamoonStarlinkCargo Return VehicleRocket LabresearchboeingmarsblogAirbus DSOneWeborionISROspaceshiptwoimpacthyperboladelayjaxamarsdemocratgoogle lunar prizerocketlunarhypertextobamaEutelsatlaunchVegatourismconstellationbarack obamafiguresSESnorthspaceflightthales alenia spacenode 2fundedRaymond LygoIntelsat2009romeAtlas VExpress MD-2dassault aviationss2Elon MuskLockheed MartinaviationLucy2008wk2sstlukradiotestmissilesuborbitaldocking portexplorationVirgin OrbitinternetAriane 5 ECAChina Manned Space EngineeringSLSsts-122missile defensenewspapercotsgalileospace tourismflight2010Ariane 5Express AMU 1spaceportbuildspace stationaltairNorthrop GrummanElectronshuttleProton Minternational astronautical congressscaled compositesIntelsat 23CosmosLauncherOneEuropean Space Agencyhanleybudgetrulesnew yorksoyuz 2-1aLong March 4CLong March 2D/2Ariane 6shenzhouatvspace shuttleVietnamcongressMojaveboldenInmarsatOrbital ATKnew shepardLong March 2CGuiana Space CenteriaccnesksclawsSpace Systems/LoralUK Space AgencyLong March 4BprotonUS Air ForceILSApollodarpaTalulah RileydragonastronautusabasepicturelanderAstriumSkyloneuSSLVega Clunar landerfiveeventfalconSea LaunchWednesdayinterview50thSNCAprilKuaizhou 1ASpace InsuranceTelesat7linkatlantisLong MarchcustomersuccessorFalcon 9v1.2 Block 5