Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lindsay Cumming 1929-2007

He volunteered for "weapons trials" with the RAF in Australia and in 1956 he was senior flight commander in No 76 Squadron, flying Canberra bombers through the rising atomic bomb mushroom cloud to collect samples. He took part in Operation Mosaic, the initial testing of the UK's atomic bomb on the Monte Bello islands, before further nuclear tests at Maralinga, in the Southern Australian desert. In 1957, he moved to Christmas Island in the Pacific to take part in Operation Grapple 1, the testing of the UK's first H Bomb. This required sampling at maximum altitude and flying battle formation at 55,000ft. During this period he received the maximum permitted dose of radiation.

He then went on to take up a seemingly less hazardous occupation as a sales/demonstration/test pilot for Shorts Brothers. Nevertheless, in 1971, he was with the Nepalese royal family when the queen was shot in a hunting accident. The British ambassador described the incident as follows: "Cumming was required to evacuate her majesty from the camp back to Kathmandu some 300 miles away, at dead of night, with no navigational aids and with what I understand to have been a 30 per cent risk of never getting through at all. At the best of times, this is a tricky country to fly in. On top of that, Cumming was required to accept an enforced altitude limitation, which he knew to be positively unsafe, because of the queen's condition. Despite these very severe handicaps, he succeeded in bringing his aircraft through by dead reckoning to an airport which has no night flying facilities as if the whole operation was being carried out under ideal circumstances in broad daylight." The king of Nepal had a special silver medal struck and awarded it to the three members of the crew.

Lindsay Logan Cumming was born in 1929 in Dunblane, Perthshire. At his prep school, Hurst Grange, he won seven cups on his final sports day. He won a scholarship to Glenalmond in 1943, where he continued to excel at sport. He spent his National Service in Kenya as an officer in the Royal Engineers before studying civil engineering at Edinburgh University. He joined the University Air Squadron, surviving a crash in 1952 when he flew a Chipmunk into telephone wires on the approach to Turnhouse Airport. He won the Trevelyan Scholarship in mathematics in 1950, graduated in 1952 with a first-class honours degree and joined the RAF. From his university days, he was a regular on the Cresta Run at St Moritz, making the RAF team and winning a number of individual awards, including the Stagni Cup in 1954 and the Coppa D'Italia in 1958. He was also in the RAF ski team. He was awarded a "Green Endorsement" in 1955 for "night recovery of a Canberra following a full runaway of the tailplane actuator", a situation that demonstrated his quick thinking and calmness in a crisis. Following two years as a flying instructor on Vampires at Linton-on-Ouse, he was promoted to squadron leader in 1960 and posted to command the Queen's University Air Squadron, in Belfast. Attendance at the RAF Staff College in 1963 was followed by staff duties as personal staff officer to the commander-in-chief of Far East air force, in Singapore. Cumming returned to the MoD in London in 1966, but he hated "flying a desk" and left the RAF in 1968, joining Shorts Brothers as a sales/demonstration pilot. After two years flying Skyvans in Africa, the Middle and Far East, he was promoted to test pilot in 1970 and to chief test pilot in 1976. During this time, Cumming made a significant contribution to the development of the Shorts commuter aircraft, the SD3-30 and the 360. He flew the Shorts 360 on its maiden flight and the first production aircraft C-23A Sherpa. One of his tasks at Shorts was the regular ferrying from Scotland to Northern Ireland of all the explosives needed for the warheads of Shorts' missiles, known as the "Schweppes Run". He regularly flew at both the Farnborough and Paris Air Shows. In 1984, aged 55 and after 16 years with Shorts, he retired

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

S.L 'Lew' Wallick 1924-2009

Lew Wallick grew up on a Kansas farm with his parents and four siblings. At 17, he joined the Naval Aviation Cadet program. He was supposed to be part of the invasion of Japan in World War II, but then the United States dropped the atomic bombs in Japan, and he never saw combat.After the war, Wallick earned a degree in mechanical engineering from Kansas State University and soon went to work at Boeing, first in Wichita and then in Seattle. He spent 35 years with the company, retiring in 1986 as Chief Test Pilot and Director of Flight Test.Along with flying the first 727, he was pilot or co-pilot on the first flights of the Boeing 737, 747SP, 757, 767 and more.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Capt Donald Brian Cartlidge 1928-2010

Don Cartlidge was a graduate of 15 course. Empire Test Pilots' School.He then joined Sir Freddie Laker as his chief test pilot on the Carvair which Freddie had converted for cargo and passengers flying from Southend.He made the maiden flight of the first Aviation Traders ATL-98 Carvair, which took off from Southend Airport at 08.26 on the morning of June 21 1961.

Capt Fred Hefford OBE, DSC, AFC, RN(ret)

Captain Freddie Hefford volunteered for the Fleet Air Arm in 1944 under the "Y' Scheme, but three years passed before he eventually commenced flying training. After gaining his Pilots Wings in 1948 he was promoted to Commissioned Pilot and continued Naval Pilot Training (OFS l) ln766 Squadron at RNAS Lossiemouth and 737 Squadron (OFS 2) Eglington, Northern heland from where he completed Deck Landing Qualificaion, aboard HMS Illustrious.
He was appointed to 800 Squadron aboard HMS Triumph, to fly Seafire 47's, later, after converting to Seafury 10 & 11 he was appointed to join 804 Squadron,14th Carrier Air Group serving in HMS Glory. He successfully completed two operational tours in Korea with the Squadron, being mentioned in despatches and being awarded a Distinguished Service Cross. He was to Lieutenant and remained in the Squadron operating from HMS Theseus, Illustrious and Indomitable.
He was appointed to join 767 Squadron Landing Signals OfEcer (Batsman) School at RNAS Stretton, as a "Clockwork Mouse" ( A Pilot used for Training potential LSO's "Batsmen" for the Carriers). The Squadron aircraft complement represented all the then current operational aircraft in the Fleets inventory, and the Squadron pilots were expected to be fully qualified to Deck Land all types. This multi-type experience and a number of Test & Trials in which he was employed gave him a taste for Test Flying.

1954 - He became a Naval Candidate for Test Pilot Training at ETPS Farnborough.
1955 - January. He was selected for taining by the ETPS Board and joined 14 Course in February of that year. On completion of the Course he was appointed to RAE Farnborough as a Test Pilot in Structures and Mechanical Engineering Flight and also Naval Flight, where he served for 3 years before retuming to the R.N for normal operational flying.

He was CO. of 'C' Squadron, Naval Test Squadron at A&AEE Boscombe Down from May 1968 to June 1971. During the tour at Boscombe the Squadron completed some very interesting Buccaneer and Phantom F4J & K Trials, both ashore and afloat. Additionally, the proving and firing clearance of a manually guided Air to Surface Missile launched from a SeaVixen proved to be an interesting