Sunday, October 14, 2007

Trevor S ' Wimpy' Wade 1920-1951 DFC AFC

Hawker P.1052 flown by Wimpy Wade

Trevor Wade was born on 27th January 1920,and was educated at Tonbridge School. On leaving school at eighteen he joined the RAF and learned to fly at Gatwick. When war came he took an instructor's course. Later he was posted to 92Sqn,equipped with Spitfires,and was in action against the Luftwaffe between May 1940,and October the following year. In the Battle of Britain and subsequent operations he destroyed seven enemy aircraft,and in July 1941 was awarded the DFC.

From 92Sqn ''Wimpy'' (his nickname was borrowed from the American cartoon character of Poeye fame) was posted as an instructor to an Operational Training Unit. After a course at the Central Flying School he became a pilot-gunnery instructor at the Central School of Gunnery. He was appointed as OC Flying at the Air Fighting Development Unit at Duxford. For his important work at the ADFU,he was awarded the AFC.

After the war, he joined the editorial staff of The Aeroplane,but in late 1947, he was approached by Bill Humble who required assistance in production testing of Sea-Furies at Langley. In 1948, Humble was appointed Hawker's sales manager, and Wimpy was appointed Chief Test Pilot.

His first major job was the testing of the straight-wing, nene-powered P.1040, which was the foreeunner of the Seahawk. From the P.1040 he moved to the swept-wing P.1052,with which,in May 1949,he set a new record for the London-Paris flight. On the 19th June 1950,he made the maiden flight of the P.1081 at Farnborough. He demonstrated the aircraft 2 weeks later at the International Air display at Antwerp,and later the same year at SBAC Farnborough.

He was killed on the 3rd April 1951 when the P.1081 he was flying crashed at Norlington,near Lewes Sussex.