Tuesday, July 25, 2017

W/Cdr Moreshwar Waman Tilak 1933-

MW Tilak made the maiden flight of the HAL Ajeet

Jack Zanasso

An original photograph of the Promavia Jet Squalas F1300 prototype I-SQAL signed by the test pilot on it's maiden flight, Jack Zanasso. Designed by the Italian Stelio Frati, the Jet Squalas first flew in April 1987. The aircraft was to be built by the Belgian firm Promavia but despite many attempts over several years the project eventually floundered.

Hans Galli

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Brian 'Dutch' Deas

Chris 'Duff' Guarente

The first guided launch of the AIM-9X from an F-22 Raptor was Feb. 26, 2015, by Maj. Christopher Guarente, 411th FLTS assistant director of operations and F-22 test pilot

Lt Col (Ret) William 'Bill' Gray

Bill Gray (Far right)

Randy "Laz" Gordon, Lt Col (USAF)

Decorated, multi-discipline leader with a demonstrated 16-year track record of professional excellence.
Commands a developmental flight test force consisting of 330+ contractor, civilian, and military personnel responsible for modernization of the F-22A Raptor. Manages a $37 Million annual operating budget and oversees $1.6+ Billion in national security assets. Led future capabilities, innovation, and experimentation for the US Pacific Command. Managed multi-billion dollar portfolio of advanced technology programs. Developed state of the art aerospace technologies as an experimental test pilot with experience in the F-22A, F-15C/E, A-10A/C, Bombardier BD-700 Global Express business jet, as well as 70 other military and civilian aircraft. Holds a Strategy PhD and Masters(summa cum laude) from the US Air Force School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, graduate aeronautical engineering degree, mathematics, and systems engineering studies (magna cum laude) from the Air Force Institute of Technology and United States Air Force Academy. Competitively selected as a DARPA US Air Force Service Chief Fellow, 2 time White House Fellowship finalist, US Air Force Thunderbirds Commander finalist, and 2 time NASA Astronaut finalist.

Robert A. Rowe, Col. (Ret.), USAF

Rob “Skid” Rowe graduated 8th of 902 graduates from the USAF Academy in 1979 with a bachelor degree in Ops Research, Aero, and Math – he was the only triple-major of his class.  As a 2nd lieutenant, he attended Princeton University from 1979 to 1981 under a Guggenheim Fellowship, earning a Master’s degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.  Assignments that followed were pilot training (distinguished graduate) and flight instructor (initial cadre) of the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program at Sheppard AFB, Texas

Rowe flew the U-2 aircraft on world-wide reconnaissance missions between 1986 and 1989.  In May of 1988, after hydraulic loss and other landing gear and aircraft complications, he successfully crash-landed a “dead-stick” U-2, with a flamed-out engine and main gear up, on Beale AFB’s runway.
Rob Rowe is a graduate of the USAF Test Pilot School’s ‘89B class, and was assigned as an Operations officer of the Edwards AFB Bomber Test Squadron after his graduation, working the B-1 and B-52 programs from 1990 until 1992.  The programs he oversaw were the B-1 conventional weapons integration, Advanced Cruise Missile, and the Tri-Service Stand-off Attack Missile (TSSAM).  Rob was at the controls during the first successful launch of a TSSAM off a B-52.
After retiring from the USAF in 1993, Rowe worked briefly as an FTE on the C-17, then as a test pilot on the U-2 until he became the U-2 Chief Test Pilot with Lockheed Martin Skunk Works in 1997.  In September of 1994, Rob piloted the first flight of the U-2 “S” model (new engine and autopilot), and in December of 1998 he flew the first U-2 PEMI jet (power and electrical upgrades).
Overall, Rowe has over 31 years of pilot experience on AF/DARPA projects and 20+ years on Lockheed Martin projects, including being the first flight pilot of the X-55A/Advanced Cargo Composite Aircraft’s flight on June 6th, 2009.  He has logged a total of 9300 flight hours, 5300 of them on the U-2 aircraft.
Rob Rowe retired from the USAF Reserves in 2006 as a Colonel.

Louis C. Setter, Col. (Ret.), USAF

At the end of World War II, the then Seaman-navigator Louis Setter was discharged from the Navy and went back to Georgia Tech where he earned a bachelor degree in aeronautical engineering, after which he joined the Army Air Corps.  He says one of his most memorable years was 1949, when he was discharged from the Army, sworn in to the U.S. Air Force, and assigned to the 31st Fighter Wing at Turner Air Force Base in Georgia.  I got my pilot’s wings and was commissioned to 2nd lieutenant, got married, and bought a new car –  all in the same day,” he said, adding, “That was a very busy day.”
During the next two decades Louis Setter became a pioneering Air Force combat aviator.
In 1952, he flew an F-84G across the Pacific Ocean to Japan, in a first ever jet fighter crossing of the Pacific. By 1954 Setter was operations officer for the F-84F Fighter Squadron and heavily involved with flight testing the supersonic version of the fighters. He was involved in developing and testing celestial navigation techniques and cruise control computers, all of which had never been done in a fighter jet before and were required as part of SAC’s concept for using the F-84G for the delivery of atomic weapons, later becoming standard for U-2 and other aircraft.
It was at this time he was called to the legendary U-2 program, a highly classified strategic reconnaissance program headed by the CIA. In October of 1955 Setter became the fourth Air Force pilot to fly the aircraft, and participated as an instructor pilot training three detachments of CIA pilots, including Gary Powers.  While flight testing the U-2, Setter credits the early model partial pressure suit for saving his life three times while soaring to altitudes of nearly 70,000 feet, during airstart testing and three engine flameouts. Of the four instructor pilots on the early U-2 program, Colonel Setter is the only living instructor left. He was awarded the CIA Bronze Medallion for instructing civilian pilots and for the engineering contributions he made later in the program.
In 1959, when the U-2 flight test organization moved to Edwards North Base, Setter became the North Base Commander and U-2 Ops officer.  After that he had assignments as the AFFTC pilot, FTE, and Flight Test Manager at EAFB (1960-64); SPO Director of Flight Test & Training at Wright-Patterson on XC-142, X-19, & X-22 programs (1965); Base Commander of Antigua Air Station (1965-67); combat pilot, IP, and FE in Viet Nam (1967-69); Chief of Engineering of Oklahoma City air Logistics Depot (1969-1973); Deputy for Systems at Wright-Patterson AFB (1973-76).
Louis Setter retired from the USAF as a Colonel in 1976, after 30+ years of service.  In his civilian life he was asked to come out of retirement several times, and held numerous positions as a Site Manager and Director in United States and abroad. He just recently retired for the third time in March of 2015, which Louis does NOT promise is his last retirement.  Louis Setter was honored as an Eagle in 2005 and again in 2015, on the 50th and 60th anniversaries of the U-2 aircraft.

David Kerzie, Lt. Col. (Ret.), USAF

Dave Kerzie graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Washington in 1958.  Almost every day since then, has been an adventure in a career as a pilot and test pilot flying high performance multi engine and fighter jet aircraft.
Kerzie graduated from USAF Pilot Training in 1960 and the USAF Aerospace Research Pilot School (Test Pilot/Space Pilot School) in 1968.  His 20 year Air Force career included operational tours in both multi-engine and fighter aircraft, as well as eleven years of experience flying within the USAF test and evaluation community. He also completed a 186 mission combat tour in Southeast Asia flying the F-4 Phantom as a 480TFS Flight Commander.
Employed by the Lockheed Company in 1979, Kerzie was initially assigned as a test pilot on the high technology L-1011 commercial transport program.  He transferred to Skunk Works in May of 1983 as a U-2 test pilot, and remained on the U-2 program for 14 years, retiring as Lockheed’s U-2 Chief Test Pilot in 1997.
Dave Kerzie was the 1986 recipient of the Iven C. Kinchloe Award as the industry’s Test Pilot of the Year for his work in performing extremely high-altitude flutter investigations. Among his other contributions to the U-2 program, of note were numerous test flights for the successful integration of the GE-118 engine and the digital autopilot development.  Kerzie was also honored as a recipient of the USAF Test Pilot School Distinguished Alumni Award and was elected by his peers as a Fellow and President of the prestigious Society of Experimental Test Pilots.
Kerzie has logged 12,000 hours of pilot time, with almost 4000 hours in the U-2, and the remainder in more than fifty different aircraft types and sailplanes. He built an RV-6 experimental aircraft in his garage and has been flying it around the country since 1998

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Herman H 'Knick' Knickerbocker 1928-2015

Knick Knickerbocker completed his Navy Test Pilot training and put his skills to work flying carrier-suitability demonstrations of the U. S. Navy’s new TA-4 aircraft. That was the beginning of his career in commercial aviation, working on the development testing and FAA certification of the highly-successful DC9 and DC10 passenger planes that are still carrying passengers well into the 21st Century.
As a result of his military service, Knick Knickerbocker was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for the 100 very hazardous missions he flew during the Korean War. He became a charter member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots after he was assigned to Edwards Air Force Base as an experimental test pilot for McDonnell Douglas, flying many test flights and FAA certification flights. In 1978 he was promoted to chief test pilot of all military and commercial test programs and to Director of Flight Operations in 1982, in charge of all test flying, production flights, test flying, and flight training. In 1990, he retired, after 38 years with McDonald Douglas.
In spite of the many years he spent flying military and command aircraft, on thousands of FAA certification flights, as a test pilot for the U. S. Navy and major aircraft builders and designers, Knick emerged from all the years he spent flying experimental aircraft unscathed. His last assignment was testing the MD 80 aircraft in its certification for the FFA.  As a finale to his long and rewarding career, Knick was honored to be given the opportunity to debut the MD 80 at the Paris Air Show and to fly VIP scenic flights with some of the historical legends of American aviation and the U. S. Air Force.

James 'Jimmy' Holt Phillips

Jimmy Phillips learned to fly as a National Serviceman at 6 FTS, Turnhill in 1949 and subsequently served with 604 Sqd. and 610 Sqd. Royal Aux. Air Force flying Vampire and Meteors. He joined de Havilland at Chester in 1953 flight testing Vampires and Venoms. He moved to de Havilland's Propeller Division at Hatfield in 1955 and then transferred to the de Havilland Aircraft Co. in 1960 where he was engaged in Comet and Trident test flying.

Max Fott

Dassault test pilot Max Fott in Falcon 20F

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

W/Cdr Andrew McDowall DFM* DSO* AFC 1913-1981

Andrew McDowall was born in 1913 at Kirkinner, Wigtownshire, Scotland. McDowall was working as an engineer on Clydeside before the war.

He joined 602 Squadron Auxiliary Air Force before the war as an Aircraft hand. He later re-mustered as an Airman u/t Pilot and did some flying training before being called to full-time service on 24th August 1939.
McDowall completed his training and rejoined 602 Squadron around May 1940. During a night patrol on 24th/25th July he attacked a He111 caught in searchlights. It jettisoned two parachute mines and, although his attack had no apparent result, the enemy aircraft was later reported to have crashed in the sea.
On 18th August McDowall destroyed a Me109, on the 26th a He111, on 9th September a Me109, on the 11th a Me110, on the 15th a probable Do17, on the 30th a Ju88 destroyed and another shared, on 27th October a Ju88 destroyed and another probably destroyed, on the 29th two Me109's destroyed, on the 30th a Me109 destroyed and on 6th November a Me109 destroyed and another shared.
McDowall was awarded the DFM (gazetted 8th October 1940) and a Bar (gazetted 17th December 1940).

Commissioned in November 1940, McDowall was posted to 245 Squadron at Aldergrove on 15th April 1941 as a Flight Commander. In July he was OC 'B' Squadron at 52 OTU Debden.
On 10th April 1942 McDowall took command of 232 Squadron when it reformed at Atcham. He was posted away to a staff job at HQ 13 Group in September.

In July 1944 McDowall was given command of 616 Squadron at Manston. Flying a Meteor, he destroyed a Ju88 on the ground on 24th April 1945.
He left the squadron in May 1945 and was released from the RAF later in the year as a Wing Commander.
He went to work for Rolls Royce a s a test pilot and then to Glosters, testing Meteors being sold to foreign air forces. He died in 1981

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

John N. Dennis 1921-xxxx

L-R Ron Gellatly, John Dennis and David Masters
Fairy Gyrodyne
Fairey Aviation at WhiteWaltham test pilot signatures Gordon Slade,Peter Twiss,Roy Morris and John Dennis

John Dennis joined the R.A.F.V.R. in 1938 and served with Nos. 3 and 139 Squadrons.  In 1942 he joined the Autogiro Squadron at Halton, and in 1944, after taking the No. 1 Helicopter School course at Andover, went to the Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment at Beaulieu, Hants, for rotating-wing research and  development duty.

In 1945 he was posted to R.A.E., Farnborough, as a Service Pilot, and a year later became a civil pilot there. More than 750 hours of his 3,000 hours' flying  at that time in 1949 had been on rotating-wing aircraft. On June 1st 1949 .F/L. John Norman Dennis was appointed rotating-wing test-pilot to the Fairey Aviation Company's Rotorcraft Division.

With the Jet Gyrodyne, Faireys were first in the world to secure a complete and realistic transition cycle in flight, the feat having been achieved on March 1 1955 by John Dennis as test pilot.
The Jet Gyrodyne, as the Fairey Gyrodyne was redesignated, was the subject of a Ministry of Supply research contract. Its function was to continue testing the tip-jet principle and develop procedures for the convertible helicopter, as represented by the Rotodyne. While the Jet Gyrodyne retained the basic appearance and engine of the earlier model, it had a two-bladed main rotor with pressure burners at the tips in place of the conventional three-bladed rotor, and at the end of the stub wings were two Fairey variable-pitch pusher propellers. These were driven by the Leonides engine which no longer drove the main rotor; instead, two Rolls-Royce Merlin compressors pumped air under pressure to the rotor tips.
Tethered flights at White Waltham were followed by the first free flight in January 1954, but a full transition to horizontal from vertical flight was not achieved until March 1955. System proving continued and by September 1956, 190 transitions and 140 autorotative landings had been made.

Lieut Cdr (ret) Roy V. Morris RN

Roy Morris served in the  R.A.F. 1943-44 and then Royal Navy till 1950. He was recalled six months later and served as pilot and deck landing officer till February 1952, when he joined Fairey as a test pilot. He attended No. 12 E.T.P.S. course in 1953.

In 1959 Deck-landing trials of the Gannet AEW3 took place in the English Channel and were ompletely satisfactory. The aircraft concerned was XL 451 (the prototype was XJ 440
and production machines started at XL 449). Three pilots were involved in the trials: Roy Morris of Fairey Aviation, and Cdr.C. E. Price and Lt-Cdr. T. C. Evans from Boscombe Down. Observers were H. J. M. Lawrence of Fairey Aviation (ex-849AEW Sqn.), C. O. Clark and Lt. P. J. Oldridge

Saturday, January 16, 2016

S/Ldr Peter J. Garner 1922-1947

Peter Garner joined the R.A.F. in 1940 and in 1941 volunteered to serve with the Merchant Ship fighter Unit. Service with this unit meant being catapulted in a Hurricane from the deck of merchant ships in convoy, and when fuel ran out, either parachuting or landing in the sea and waiting to be picked up. After a tour with the M.S.F.U. he was attached to Naval Aviation for deck landings.
In 1943 he volunteered to fly Mosquito Intruders, and was for a while with No. 605 (County of Warwick) A.A.F Squadron. On completion of three tours of operations he was appointed Staff Officer to H.Q. Fighter Command as Intruder Controller. He later completed a full Empire Test Pilots' Course and, in February, 1946, joined Westlands as assistant to Harald Penrose. In addition to development work on the Wyvern, he has been demonstrating the Westland Sikorsky helicopter.
On October 15th 1947,Peter Garner  met with a fatal accident while testing the first prototype W.34; the Wyvern TF Mk 1 when the propeller bearings failed in flight. He attempted to make an emergency landing and dove his Wyvern to avoid stalling but pulled out too late in the dive and the resulting belly-landing knocked him unconscious as his aircraft burned

S/Ldr Alan Ormerod Moffet AFC 1920-1945

S/Ldr Moffet attended Windermere Grammar School before joining the RAF and going on to be a chief test pilot for Power Jets.  At 22 years of age he was awarded the Air Force Cross for courage and devotion to duty which he demonstrated during experimental work on jet engines.
On July 21, 1945, S/Ldr Moffet  was flying EE291 Meteor III aircraft which was on loan to Power Jets, of Bruntingthorpe, and was the test bed for a reheated version of the RB37 engine. He was authorised to carry out a display at a Victory Gala being staged at Whetstone, just south of Leicester.
The aircraft ran in while descending from 5,000 feet to 500 and passed over the airfield at an estimated 450 knots, before pulling up steeply into cloud. The aircraft was next seen flick rolling, before levelling out inverted and then diving into the ground and disintegrating completely. Squadron Leader Alan Ormerod Moffet was killed.

Sqn Ldr Michael Graves DFC 1921-1949

Squadron Leader Michael Graves DFC was the Westland Company's assistant chief test pilot under Harald Penrose.
Squadron Leader Graves, who had been with Westland Aircraft for two years, was attached to the Middle East Command and had received his DFC in 1942 when he had a record, as leader of a fighter squadron, of three enemies destroyed, five probably destroyed, and many others damaged.

He was killed on Monday 31st October 1949 when the aircraft he was flying, the Westland Wyvern turbo-jet fighter prototype crashed on two semi-detached council houses near the Westland aerodrome at Yeovil. Along with Sqn Ldr Graves, a six-year old girl cycling on the road and a woman were killed. Another woman, who had been trapped in her blazing house, was rushed to hospital after a dramatic rescue.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Roy Mole 19xx-2014

Roy Mole was a Vickers/BAC flight test engineer, he was the Flight Engineer on G-ARTA when it had a nearly disastrous flutter incident, and on 5H-MOG during the last first flight of a VC10.

Mark P. "Forger" Stucky

Stucky served as a test pilot at Naval Air Station Pt. Mugu and Naval Weapons Center China Lake, CA, flying both operational and developmental test flights in the F-4 and all models of the F/A-18. He was actively involved in software development in the Hornet as well as testing of the Night Attack variants. Stucky was temporarily assigned to Marine forces for several weeks during Operation Desert Shield/Storm and flew several combat missions during the initial air campaign.

Following his return from the Persian Gulf, Stucky completed his postgraduate study with the University of Tennessee and was awarded a Masters of Science degree in Aviation Systems.

Always interested in aerospace, Stucky left the Marine Corps in 1993 to accept a job as a NASA research pilot job with NASA JSC. At JSC, Stucky served as an aerospace research pilot with primary duties as an instructor pilot for NASA Space Shuttle astronauts in the T-38 and the highly modified Gulfstream-II Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA).
After earning his degree, Stucky joined the United States Marine Corps where he flew the F-4 Phantom and later the F/A-18 Hornet. During his tenure in the Marines, Stucky was selected for and graduated from the Navy Fighter Weapons School (TopGun), the Marine Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course, and the USAF Test Pilot School.
 Stucky transferred to Dryden in February 1996 from NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, TX. He was assigned as a pilot on various flight test models of the F-18 and F-16 aircraft as well as the King Air. He also was the project pilot in the Eclipse project, which involved towing a QF-106 behind a C-141 to test a method of launching spacecraft. When he joined Dryden, Stucky had logged over 4,000 flight hours in over forty different models of aircraft varying from the U-2 spyplane to the Goodyear Blimp.Stucky's aviation career began in 1974 when he started hang gliding off the Kansas flint hills at age 15. He attended Kansas State University where he received a Blue Key scholarship for an extra-curricular design project involving hang gliding. Stucky graduated from KSU in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Science.He was an aerospace research test pilot at NASA's Dryden (now Armstrong) Flight Research Center, Edwards, CA, until the middle of September 1999, when he left Dryden for other employment.

He was with Scaled Composites’ WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo development program, ranging from engineering test pilot for both vehicles to technical adviser, design engineer, instructor pilot, project pilot and mentor. During his tenure at Scaled, Stucky flew the majority of SpaceShipTwo’s envelope expansion flights and initiated its powered rocket motor test flight phase as pilot in command on the spaceship’s first powered flight. He also served as project pilot and instructor in the transition and integration of WhiteKnightTwo from Scaled to Virgin Galactic’s commercial operations team. He joined Virgin Galactic as a pilot in January 2015.

Michael R. Swann 1949-1981

Michael R. Swann joined the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Dryden Flight Research Center on June 5, 1978, transferring from the NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas, as a research pilot.
Swann attended North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota, from September 1968 to February 1977, where he earned his Masters in Physics. He was a member of three national honorary scholastic fraternities.
Prior to joining NASA Swann served concurrently as an Aerospace Defense Command Interceptor pilot in the Air National Guard for five years and as a college physics instructor at North Dakota State University for two years.
While at Johnson Space Center Mike was a pilot on high altitude earth resources and air sampling missions. He was also an instructor and check pilot for the Astronaut Space Flight Readiness Training program. As a Dryden research pilot Mike was involved with the F-111 #778 Transonic Aircraft Technology (TACT) program, F-15 # 281 Shuttle Tile tests, programs on the F-8C #802 and the PA-30 #808 Remotely Piloted Research Vehicle. He flew the Bell 47G #822 helicopter in support of research with the three-eighths-scale F-15 Spin Research Vehicle. On March 28, 1979, Mike made a pilot familiarization flight in the YF-12A #935. He also flew support flights in the F-104, C-47, T-37, T-38, and the Jetstar aircraft.
Michael R. Swann was born June 5, 1949, in Fargo, North Dakota; he was fatally injured in a recreational glider accident on July 28, 1981, near California City, California.

Jock Reid MBE

Jock Reid was born and raised in Renfrew, mid-way between the old and new Glasgow airports. He joined the Royal Air Force in 1966 and after training, flew the Lightning operationally before completing an instructors course and spending 2 years teaching on the Folland Gnat. He attended the US Navy Test Pilots School at Patuxent River, Maryland in 1976 before returning to the UK to spend 3 years testing fighter and trainer aircraft at the Aeroplane and Armament Establishment Boscombe Down. His final 3 years of RAF service was as an instructor at the Empire Test Pilots School, also at Boscombe Down.

He joined the Civil Aviation Authority as an airworthiness test pilot in January 1983, becoming Chief Test Pilot in 1995 before retiring in September 2003. During his CAA service Jock has flown most types of aircraft from the very small to the very largest and fastest. He admits to a great fondness for the Boeing 747 but it is Concorde which remains the focus of his affection. Jock converted to Concorde in 1989 and flew the aeroplane on a regular basis until his retirement in 2003. During that time, he was privileged to participate in all the flight test activities which arose, including in particular, the return to service tests after the Paris accident as well as participation in ceremonial flights such as the opening of the Scottish Parliament and the Queens Golden Jubilee.

Honours and awards include the Royal Aeronautical Society's British Gold Medal, 2002 and the Guild of Air Pilots and Navigators Derry and Richards Memorial Medal, 2003. He was appointed MBE in January 2004.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Edward A.Gillespie 1928-2015

 Ed Gillespie was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan on July 28, 1928, a licensed pilot at age of 16, he joined the US Navy at 17 and was accepted into the Navy flight training program. As a carrier based fighter pilot during the Korean conflict he flew many combat missions in service of his country. Passing on an opportunity to join the Blue Angels, he entered Test Pilot Training school where he graduated in 1956. He remained in the Navy Reserve where he retired at the rank of Captain after 26 years of additional service. In 1956 he took a position with North American Aviation, Columbus, Ohio, where he was employed for 30 years, retiring as Chief Test Pilot for Rockwell International. With over 15,000 flight hours primarily accumulated in short, intense flights in single cockpit high performance aircraft, in over 100, jet, rocket, recip, helo and turbo prop military aircraft, his record of aviation accomplishment during his long career is matched by very few, living or dead.

Ed first soloed in September of 1944 at a small airfield near his hometown of Ann Arbor, MI. Ed was a recognized high school athlete who excelled in swimming, football and track. He was always physically active and as much he enjoyed participating in various sports, flying was his true passion. He enlisted in the US Navy’s Aviation Midshipman Program while still a 17-year-old in high school. After schooling in Engineering, at Syracuse University and Western Michigan University, he began Navy preflight training in the summer of 1948 with over 200 civilian flight hours already logged. He completed flight training without a “Down” and carrier qualified in SNJ’s and F4U Corsairs aboard the CVL’s USS Wright and USS Cabot. He was awarded his Wings of Gold, in May of 1950 and was selected to attend Jet Transitional Training (a choice assignment in those days), while still a Midshipman. The airplanes utilized were single-seat TO-1’s (Air Force P-80 Shooting Stars) as there were no two-place jet trainers at that time.
Fleet duty as carrier based F2H Banshee pilot, Ed covered several oceans and as many ships during the next three years, including 80 combat missions in Korea. As the high man in the F2H he also served as technical director and pilot for four USN training fly on to fly the Banshee. This assignment almost cost him his life during filming of an intentional inverted spin when he finally regained level flight barely above the ocean. At that time he was still so naïve that he didn’t know the contractor had not yet successfully tested inverted spins in this airplane!
After three years of squadron duty, Ed was offered the very envious choice of either joining the Blue Angles or attending the US Navy Test Pilot School (TPS). He decided it would be better for his career to know more about aerodynamics instead of joining the air-show circuit, and subsequently graduated in TPS class Eleven in early 1954. From there on Ed was test flying continuously until he was in his 70’s. Ed flew every propeller or jet attack / fighter airplane in the navy’s inventory while serving as a test pilot at the Naval Air Test Center. An example was the infamous F7U Cutlass. Before it entered the fleet, Ed was one of the high time USN pilots in the unusual fighter. Unlike some of the other pilots, he almost began to enjoy the airplane and he believes that it’s rugged airframe later saved his life on at least two occasions.
Following his 1956 graduation from the USN Line School in Monterey, CA, Ed left active duty Navy and began to work for North American Aviation in Columbus, OH as an experimental test pilot. He found that he still had to deploy regularly as more than half his time was spent flying contractor test flights at NATC Patuxent River, NATF Lakehurst, NAWC China Lake, Edwards AFB, or NASWF Albuquerque.
In 1964 he applied for the Astronaut Program when it first opened to civilians but was disqualified because he was few months older than the maximum age limit, which was 36 at the time. That year he also became the Chief Test Pilot at North American Aviation, unfortunately due to the tragic death of one of his best friends during a test flight. For the next 24 years Ed continuously performed almost daily experimental flying in all series of Trojans, Buckeyes, Furies, Vigilantes, Savages, Broncos, Phantoms, Voodoos, and other lesser known, but just as demanding, types. Hundreds of these flights were at or approaching the structural/aerodynamic limits estimated for the aircraft. He further completed USN helicopter training and qualified in AV-8 Harriers and the X-22, both also vertical risers.
Shortly after becoming a civilian, Ed also wanted to continue to serve his country. He missed the tradition and camaraderie of the Navy. He joined the USNR and stayed active in the Reserves for the next 26 years. He eventually commanded an A4 Skyhawk, squadron, tested Phantoms at NAS North Island, performed carrier suitable tests in maximum gross weight Vigilantes at NATF Lakehurst, and instructed at the US Navel Test Pilot School as part of his Reserve commitment. His last assignments were Annual Training as the Commanding Officer of NAS Brunswick, NAS Oceana, and NAF Loges (Azores). In 1982 he retired as a Captain with 36 total years of service in the Navy.
After also retiring from North American Rockwell in 1988, Ed thought his test flying was over…thinking who would want to hire an aging test pilot? It so happened that there were jobs where experience was appreciated and he was soon employed to establish a test program and fly the structural and flutter flight tests on a major modification of the Air Force T-37. In order to satisfy the Air Force that a senior citizen could still safely fly a jet, he completed a three-month training program in the airplane at age 62. This made him the oldest graduate of pilot training ever at Randolph AFB! After two years with the T-37 Tweet, he did test work on a French designed amphibian biplane. Most of this was done while flying from Canadian lakes and seemed to be more fun for Ed than dangerous, however, two other pilots were later killed in the airplane and the effort ended. He also flew first flights in some WW1 replica biplane fighters. This lasted for another two years and proved to Ed that the airplanes of that day were indeed structurally limited, and marginally stable.
In the middle 90’s he began a lengthy flight test program on a civilian single-engine jet the BD-10J. It looked like a small F-18 and climbed like one! It was powered by a 3,000-lbs thrust engine and the airplane weighed only 4000 lbs. Needless to say it was a real screamer and provided plenty of unwanted scares and adrenaline rushes. Most of the testing was done at the Civilian Flight Test Center at Mohave, CA. Ed did all of the first flights (five different wing/tail configurations) and demonstrated the capabilities of this airplane to the US Military at several military installations. A fatal crash of a skilled, but impatient, ex-fighter pilot almost ended the program. With increased emphasis on engineering, and a steadier paycheck promised, Ed resumed testing a modification of the airplane with another company near Lake Tahoe, NV. Unfortunately, due to a mechanical failure, the president of the company was also killed in the airplane, which ended this promising program.
Ed was elected a Fellow in the Society of Experimental Test Pilots in 1977, but has never been in the right time frame or position to participate in any high visibility programs such as Space. On the contrary, he was always a work-a-day test pilot who always managed to complete the often “hairy” mundane test tasks and deliver the necessary engineering data without ever losing an airplane.
Capitan Gillespie served in the US flight test community longer, continuously, and successfully, than any other civilian or military pilot. He was very proud of the fact that he always landed every airplane that he took of in. Some were not all in one piece or they were on fire, but they all got back. Having been within microseconds of death several times during his long career, he credited his survival on a combination of good flight planning, conservative flying, moderate skill and lots of luck! Ed had 15,000 hours of flight time, most in single pilot military airplanes.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Jacques Rosay 1949-2015

Jacques Rosay joined Airbus as a test pilot in 1995 and two years later became the project pilot for the A380, then known as the A3XX. In 2000 he was appointed vice president chief test pilot of Airbus’ flight test division. Prior to joining Airbus, he was chief test pilot at the French flight test centre in southern France, where he became project pilot for several military aircraft and tested almost 150 different models of military and civilian aircraft. He also worked as a certification test pilot for the Joint Aviation Authorities on various aircraft including Airbus’ A320, A321, A330 and A340 while also working part-time as a pilot for Air France. Jacques Rosay performed the maiden flights of the A318, A340-500 and the A380. He has some 10,000 flight hours to his credit, including 6,000 hours of flight tests. Jacques Rosay was born in 1949 in Valréas, France.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Glen L "Snake" Reaves 1926-1984

Lockheed test pilot Glen L "Snake" Reaves (left) with Johnnie Walker

W/Cdr Anthony 'Tony' F. Martindale AFC* 19xx-1959

Aero Flight 1944 L-R, Martindale, Nelson,Brown and Weightman
Tony Martindale, chief development engineer of the Motor Car Division of Rolls-Royce Ltd died on july 14th 1959. After five pre-war years with the company he joined the R.A.F., in which he had a distinguished career, particularly as a pilot of high-speed aircraft and captured German machines. After the war he was a Rolls-Royce test pilot for five years before resuming his car-development work.

The highest accurately recorded dive speed in a piston-engined fighter was Mach 0.91 (620 mph at 27,000 ft), recorded in Spitfire Mk.XI EN 409 by Squadron Leader A.F. "Tony" Martindale during a high-speed dive test from 40,000 feet at Farnborough on April 27, 1944. The aircraft lost its propeller and reduction gear, but in an extraordinary display of airmanship, Martindale managed to glide the aircraft back to base and land safely!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Roger Beazley CBE, AFC, BA (Hons), FRAeS

Roger H Beazley [RHB] flew his first solo in a Tiger Moth derivative, the Thruxton Jackaroo whilst undergoing an air cadet scholarship in 1959. He subsequently qualified as a gliding instructor within the air cadet movement whilst employed in industry as an electrical engineering draughtsman.
In 1964 he left industry to join the Royal Air Force to train as a pilot following which he flew Hunters, BAC Lightnings in Germany and then the Phantom F4 based in Scotland. He was selected for test pilot training during 1972 and graduated from the Empire Test Pilots’ School [ETPS] in 1973.
Following ETPS training he remained at Boscombe Down and joined B Squadron [Bombers and Transport Aircraft] working on the yet to fly MRCA [Tornado] project. He flew development and clearance flying on Canberra and Buccaneer aircraft with support flying on the Hercules, Comet and Nimrod aircraft. After 9 months on B Squadron a reorganisation at Boscombe Down allocated the Buccaneer, the MRCA and the associated flight test crews to A Squadron [Fighter Test].
During his time on A Squadron, he became increasingly involved in the early days of the MRCA project [by then named Tornado], including the airborne chase of UK’s first Tornado flight and subsequently in Manching Germany, flying the first tri-national assessment of the aircraft’s navigation and attack system.

Flight test work at Boscombe Down included development and certification flying on the Hawk, Phantom, Buccaneer and Jaguar aircraft embracing handling, systems, weapon aiming and air to air refuelling work. In addition to the Tornado, two  handling and system evaluations were carried out away from Boscombe Down, the F111E Ardvark flown from the USAF base at Upper Heyford in the UK and the F15 Eagle flown at Edwards Air Force Base in the US. Following a 2 year tour as a project test pilot RHB was re-toured for further two years as the A Squadron’s Senior Pilot. 

Leaving Boscombe Down in 1978, he served in the UK Ministry of Defence Operational Requirements Division working on the flight test, weapons and piloting issues of the Tornado’s entry into RAF service.
Appointed Commander Flying at the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Bedford he found himself responsible for the operations of Radar Research and Flight Systems Squadrons as well as the operational and administrative aspects of the airfield along with command and domestic aspects of a detached military unit. Amongst others his research flying focussed on radar and flight systems, workload assessments, fog flying research and turbulence response measurements. Aircraft included the BAC111, Canberra, HS125, Hunter, Gnat, HS748 plus others and, having converted to rotary aircraft, the Wessex, Gazelle and Sea King helicopters.

He found it a particular privilege to fly a number of sorties in the WW1 SE5a following a major servicing at Bedford, along with the return delivery to its real home in the Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden.
Following the six month Air Warfare Course at the RAF College Cranwell, three years were spent at the NATO Supreme Headquarters in Mons Belgium addressing strategic policy, warfare studies and military command & control issues.       
Returning to the UK, RHB was appointed Head of Experimental Flying at the Royal Aircraft Establishment responsible for experimental and support flying and the military domestic support at the Farnborough, Bedford, Llanbedr, Aberporth and West Freugh airfields. Although besieged by the inevitable administration and staff work he managed to become personally involved in a range of flight test systems research flying principally embracing the Hawk, Andover, BAC111, Comet 4, and Hercules W2 along with considerable support and communications flying in the Navajo Chieftain and Gazelle helicopter. Fewer flight hours, although of particular interest, included the Meteor and the Varsity.
The Farnborough appointment included that of Display Director of the Farnborough International Airshow an association which extended well after his Farnborough appointment and resulted in continued support to a number of other airshows both in the UK and overseas; an activity which continued for a period in excess of 20 years and well into retirement.  
RHB’s final military appointment was as Director of Flying [Research & Development] within the UK Ministry of Defence. His responsibilities included the supervision and regulation of all UK MoD research, development and production flying both at the official establishments and in industry. He retained “hands on” contact by continuing to occasionally fly the Meteorological Research Hercules W2.
On retirement from the Service in 1996 he took the appointment of Aerospace Adviser at the flight test centre at MoD Boscombe Down and then as a consultant to ETPS. During that period he travelled extensively on flight safety, flight test and flight test training interests across North & South America, South Africa, the Middle East, the Pacific Rim including China and Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

RHB is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, Fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots [US] and Honorary Member of the Flight Test Society of Australia. He was decorated with an Air Force Cross [AFC] in 1978 and appointed Commander of the British Empire [CBE] in 1996. In 2003 he was awarded the Master's Commendation from the City of London Guild of Air Pilots and Navigators for his work in supervising the display flying at the Farnborough International Airshow for some 12 years and in 2006, awarded a Master Air Pilot Certificate again by the City Guild.