Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Eric Stanley Greenwood OBE 1909-1979

Eric Greenwood(right) with Hugh Wilson

Eric Greenwood joined the RAF straight from Wantage School and learnt to fly on Lynx engined Avros at No5 FTS in 1928. On completion of flying training he was posted to No3 Sqn at Upavon to fly Hawker Woodcocks and Bristol Bulldogs. In September 1930,he went to CFS to take an instructors course,and after qualifying,spent the rest of his commission as an instructor.

On leaving the service he joined Lord Malcolm Douglas Hamilton in a Scottish joy-riding and charter concern,flying from the Lochs using a Saro Cloud. His next job was as an instructor at the Penang Flying Club,flying Moth Majors. When Charles Kingsford-Smith was lost over the Bay of Bengal, Eric Greenwood spent 74 flying hours searching for him.

Early in 1936,George Bulman whom Greenwood knew from the days when he flew Hawker Woodcocks wrote to him and advised him to return to England. On his return he went to Air Service Training as an instructor until Campbell-Orde left Armstrong-Whitworths and Charles Turner-Hughes asked Eric to join him as No2 Test Pilot. Greenwood was based at Coventry and moved round to Hawkers and Glosters as required.

He flew as 2nd pilot on the maiden flight of the A.W Ensign. In 1941 he was sent as Chief Test pilot to A.S.T. at Hamble,where all the examples of USA fighters were being modified. In 1944 he took over the position of Chief Test Pilot at Glosters on the retirement of Michael Daunt. It was here,while testing Meteors for the World's Record Attempt,that he flew at 500mph and then over 600mph in the recorde breaking aircraft. It was an amzing piece of development flying to raise the speed from 500 to 600mph in a fortnight.

He was awarded the OBE in 1946 and gave up Test Flying a year later. He was sales director for Beagle Aircraft from 1966-1970.