Search This Blog

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown flies F-35!

Eric 'Winkle' Brown flies F-35!  

(more at

One of the guests of honour aboard HMS Illustrious at Greenwich for the 'Fly Navy 100' flypast was legendary test pilot Captain Eric Melrose 'Winkle' Brown, CBE, DSC, AFC, FRAeS, RN.
Gary Parsons - 17-Jul-2009

Eric 'Winkle' Brown, 90 years young. Key - Gary Parsons
A former Royal Navy officer, Eric is famous for flying more types of aircraft than anyone else in history, as well as being the Fleet Air Arm's most decorated pilot. Now turned 90 years old, Eric belies his age with an awareness and spirit of someone twenty years younger. Slight of build, his diminutive figure contradicts one's expectations of the chisel-jawed fighter pilot, but his openness and friendly banter soon puts one at ease. A centre of attention aboard HMS Illustrious, one couldn't help notice the array of medals pinned to his chest, but also the small F-35 Lightning II pin badge on his lapel. Had he managed to add another type to his official record of 487 different aircraft flown?

"Oh yes", he beamed. "Lockheed Martin were kind enough to let me loose in their simulator recently." Did he manage to do a full sortie in the simulator? "Yes, very enjoyable, even down to a vertical landing! These days, you get a load of instrumentation with you and it's quite remarkable - you sit in his cockpit and you get a total view of the battle field, everything that's going on, brought right up to date. It's quite incredible the way it can be done."

It wasn't Eric's first taste of vertical movement in a fixed-wing aeroplane – he flew the P1127 and Kestrel in the sixties, the forerunners of the Harrier GR1. "The P1127 had a habit of preparing to go backwards before going forward!"

Born on January 21, 1919 in Leith near Edinburgh, Eric first flew when he was 18. With the sea in his blood he joined the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve in 1939, before committing to the Fleet Air Arm as a pilot. During 1941 Eric was with 802 Squadron aboard HMS Audacity flying Martlets over the Mediterranean, during which time he downed two enemy Focke-Wulf Fw 200 'Condor' maritime patrol aircraft.

Yves Duwelz

See also :