Wednesday, October 29, 2008

G/Capt Christopher Clarkson AFC 1902-1994

Chris Clarkson with George Errington (left) after flying the prototype Airspeed Ambassador
Chris Clarkson ready to test another Canadian built Mosquito

Christopher Clarkson was educated at Lancing College in Sussex and had a long career in aviation. He joined the Royal Air Force in 1924 as an instructor at its Central Flying School, returned to civilian life as a test pilot and won trophies for aerobatics and cross-Channel air races.

In World War II, he rejoined the Central Flying School but the R.A.F. sent him to the United States to test the warplanes being sent to Britain on Lend-Lease. He became chief of the test branch of the British Air Commission in this country in 1943, rose to the rank of group captain and received the Air Force Cross.

After the war he served as civil-aviation attache in the British Embassy in Washington until 1952. That year he became United States representative of Vickers-Armstrong Ltd., then one of Britain's leading aircaft and arms manufacturers. That led to his position in 1961 as head of British Aircraft Corporation U.S.A., now British Aerospace. He retired four years later.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Harold 'Curly' Custer 1921-


Harold,"Curley" Custer, son of the inventor Willard Custer. Curley was trained as a pilot by the army in WWII, and did much of the test flights for the Custer Channelwing Corporation. Curley has more time in channelwings than any other man on earth, and the stories to go with the experience. He spent much of his life trying to demonstrate the abilities of the channelwing, and is still an avid supporter.



Hugo V.B. Burgerhout 1913-1988








Hugo V.B. Burgerhout flew the maiden flight of the prototype Fokker S-13 (PH-NDW) on March 13, 1950 and the maiden flight of the prototype Fokker F.27 Friendship, PH-NIV. 0n 24th November 1955, both from Amsterdam,Schipol

Leif Neilsen 1935-




On 14th July 1971 before an audience of 2,000 people the first prototype G-001 (D-BABA) took off for its maiden flight in Lemwerder flown by Leif Neilsen

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Max Fischl 1922-2006


Born in Paris in 1922, Max Fischl developed an interest in aeronautics at a young age, a field in which he would devote his entire career to. He did however start his career in the Merchant Navy,learning the secrets of telegraphy.
During WW2 he escaped to Britain and then to Canada, becoming a military pilot in the schools of the RAFin 1945. He obtained a diploma in Flight Testing from EPNER in 1952.
After greaduation from EPNER,he joined Hurel Dubois and then onto SNCASO,which beame Aerospatiale. He flew several legendary aircraft there. Trident,Vautour and the Caravelle. He was appointed Senior Test Pilot at Airbus Industrie and made the maiden flight of the Airbus A300B on 30th October 1972.
During his career,he flew more than 10,000 hours, 6,500 of which were as a test pilot.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Auguste Morel 1921-1974

Auguste Morel

Auguste Morel joined the Aéronavale as a student pilot in Great Britain in 1945.

His career began at the delivery and convoy section of the Aéronavale, which he left in January 1952 for the SNECMA engine manufacturer. He got his test pilot licence at the end of a training course at the CEV (Centre des Essais en Vol) in 1953.

His job at SNECMA was to test fly the company engines, and in doing so he flew a large number of different test-bed aircraft (from Meteor to Armagnac , including Dassault fighters). He made the first trial flight of a vectored thrust device conceived by the engineer Jean Bertin, first installed on a Vampire in 1952. At Melun-Villaroche, he specialised in VTO and was at the controls of the “Atar Volant” C 400 P2, on May 14, 1957 for its first flight, successfully demonstrating it at the LE Bourget Salon in 1957. He began testing the “Coléoptère” (SNECMA C 450) on 8th May 8 1959, but on the ninth flight on July 25th 1959 (the aircraft had by then flown about 20 flight hours but hadn’t yet made the transition to horizontal flight) just before attempting transition he lost control. He managed to eject fifteen meters from the ground, but was badly injured. The accident put en end to his test flying career

Roger Carpentier 1921-1959



Roger Carpentier was the first Frenchman to exceed the speed of sound. He carried out much of the test flying of the Trident and in 1958 twice exceeded the absolute eight record then held by the Scorpion Canberra.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Patrick Experton 1941-





Test pilot, Patrick Experton worked for Dassault Aviation between 1978 until his retirement in 2002. A graduate of the French Airforce Academy Class of 1962, Patrick Experton was first assigned to the EC Roussillon flying the Mirage IIIE Mirage then to the EC Alsace in Dijon, also flying the Mirage III. He was then transferred to the CEV (Centre D'essais en Vol) in Istres, and then to the USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB, becoming the first French pilot to fly the F 15A Eagle. He returned to France to the Istres AB with the CEV where he conducted spin trials for the Mirage F-1C. He then commanded the EC3/30 Lorraine Squadron between 1976 to 1978 at Reims Airbase, the first unit equipped with the airplane.

He was employed as a test pilot with Dassault aviation in 1978 where he was involved with the development of the Alpha Jet trainer, variants of the Mirage F1 including the CR reconnaissance version. He made the first flights of the Mirage 50 (May 1979) and the Mirage IIING ( December 1982).


From 1980 onwards, he was closely involved with the development of the Mirage 2000 Fly-by-wire. His most significant contribution to the program was his critical role criticizes in the development of the Mirage 2000-5 variant. In the mid 1990’s, he changed to the business jet side of Dassault, being involved in several test programs including the Falcon 900 and Falcon 900EX. Throughout his career, and in retirement, Patrick Experton has maintained strong links with the flight United States test flying community and with the Society of Experimental test Pilots (SETP) in particular.






Jacques Grangette 1924-2006






Jacques Grangette

Monday, October 13, 2008

Michel Chalard 1919-1957


Michel Chalard was born in 1919 in Villeurbanne and was educated at the Ecole de La Martiniere Lyon.He gained his wings in 1937. He joined the Air Force and was assigned to Bron airbase Group 1/35 on Amiot 143's. In 1944/45, flying B26 Marauders, he participated in the campaigns of Italy, southern France and Germany. At the of hostilities he joined the test center flight at Orange, and later that of Bretigny.
He took the test pilot's course at EPNER in 1950 where he is graduated. He became deputy director of the school from 1951 to 1952. He left the Air Force in 1952 with the rank of Captain. Assigned to the test center Brétigny as a civilian test pilot, he performed the official trials of Morane MS 755 "Fleuret" and the CM 170 Fouga Magister. In 1955, Michel Chalard was hired by Nord Aviation and participated in testing jet aircraft "Gerfaut" and "Griffon". On February 28, 1957, at Istres, he took the world record speed in the Gerfaut.
He was killed in the crash of a Nord 2501 in 1957.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Meinhardt Feuersenger



The Fairchild Dornier 328JET lifted off at 11:16 a.m on its maiden flight from the Oberpfaffenhofen runway and was flown at altitudes up to 25,000 feet around the Bavarian Alps and airspace used for test purposes near the airfield. Pilots Meinhardt Feuersenger and Peter Weger flew for one hour and 55 minutes, exploring various flight test parameters during the successful first flight.

Gerben Sonderman 1908-1955



Gerben Sonderman with Prince Bernard of the Netherlands
Sonderman in cockpit of first RNLAF Hunter

Maiden flight of the Fokker S-14 by Gerben Sonderman

Gerben Sonderman was born on December 29th, 1908, at Drachten, Holland, and, having finished high school, he studied at the Academy for Physical Training. Following graduation he
became a teacher at a high school and, after joining the Rotterdam Lloyd Shipping Company, was appointed a physical training instructor. Later he joined the Netherlands Air Force, thereby
achieving a long-standing ambition. In October 1936 he was appointed as a pilot officer in the
Reserve. On January 23rd, 1939, he entered the service of the Fokker company as a test pilot, and tested the D.21, D.23 and G.I fighters, as well as the T.5, T.8-W and T.9 bombers. During the German invasion he fought gallantly, in a G.I, against the Luftwaffe, and during the occupation was an active member of the resistance movement.

After the war, in 1946-47, he was one of the few Dutch pilots to take the E.T.P.S. course in England. In January 1947 he was promoted 1st lieutenant and, in May 1948, captain. Thereafter he became personal pilot to His Royal Highness Prince Bernhard and to the Netherlands Royal Family. He was made a lieutenant-colonel in 1954.
Gerben Sonderman was tragically killed in 1955 in a Fokker S-14 Machtrainer during a flight display in the U.S.A.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Georgy Konstantinovich Mosolov 1926-




Georgy Mosolov was born in Ufa city in 1926. He had served in the Army from 1944. In 1948 he graduated from Chuguievskoye military aviation pilot school,staying there as a pilot-instructor until 1951. In 1953 he graduated from Test-pilot school, and in 1959 graduated from MAI (with distinction).

Between 1953-1962 he worked as test-pilot and from 1963-1969 he was leading engineer at A.I.Mikoyan EDB. He conducted flight tests on the MiG-17, MiG-19, MiG-21 fighters and their various modifications. He made the maiden flights of the Å-2, Å-8, I-7Ó, I-75, Å-152À è Å-152/1 and set six world aviation records (three of them were absolute).

He was awarded with two Lenin Orders, Order of Red Star, medals. Has three medals de Lavo (FAI) (1960, 1962, 1963). Made a Hero of Soviet Unionin 1960 and Honored test-pilot of USSR in 1967.

Henry Petit


Henry Petit

Bernard Ziegler 1933-







Bernard Ziegler was born in 1933, and is the former Airbus senior vice president for engineering. He is the son of the former Airbus CEO, Henri Ziegler.

He was educated at the Ecole Polytechnique (1954) as an engineer and École de l'Air (1955) for his pilot training and military commission. Mr. Ziegler began his career as a fighter pilot in the French air force. He saw action in the Algerian War and was decorated twice. Principal medals and decorations received include Officer de L’Ordre National due Merite, Médaille de l’Aéronautique,Croix de la valeur militaire and Officer de la Legion d’honneur.

He continued his studies in Ecole Nationale Superieure de L’Aeronautique et de L’Espace (Supaero) (1961) and was later posted to École du Personnel Navigant d'Essais et de Réception (EPNER), the French Air Force test pilot establishment in 1964. He was the chief test pilot for the Dassault Mirage G in 1968. In Airbus, his career spans from chief test pilot (1972) to senior vice president for flight and support, and then to senior vice president for engineering. As a test pilot, he flew the first flight of the A300,A310, A320 and A340.

Bernard Ziegler was the most influential figure in developing the cockpit design and fly-by-wire control system for the Airbus airliners. He proposed that numerous technological innovations be applied to Airbus aircraft; for example using composites, twin-engine configuration for the A300, fly-by-wire and many others. He was the guiding force in the creation of the flight-envelope protection incorporated in the Airbus flight-control software. This innovation allows the pilot to apply the maximum control forces considered necessary while preventing inadvertent inputs that could place the aircraft outside the safety margin. This feature is considered by many to be highly beneficial in avoiding unusual attitudes in flight and in safely maximizing the effectiveness of evasive manoeuvres in response to GPWS warnings.

For his efforts in advancing the fly-by-wire cause, he was honoured by Flight Safety Foundation in 1998. He retired from Airbus after 25 years of service in 1997.

Gerard Henry 1924-


Signed by Jean Boulet,Gerard Henry,Henri Petit and Rene Mouille


Max Plan P.F.204

Gerard Henry was born in Lorraine in 1924 and graduated as a military pilot in 1946. After becoming a test pilot, he made the maiden flights of 2 aircraft, the Max Plan P.F.204 in 1948 and the Millet-Lagarde ML10 in 1949.
From 1950 onwards, he became involved with helicopters and went to EPNER where he completed a helicopter tst pilot course. He was involved testing the Alouette through to the Super Frelon in a 34 year career which saw 27 of them as a test pilot,flying over 36 types of helicopters and accumulating 11,575 flight hours of which 7,421 were flight testing. He also supervised the training of the first 100 French military pilots of the heavy helicopters,particpated in the operations in the Aures in 1955 and helped rescue White and Santini from Mont Blanc in 1957.

'Jas' Andreas Pieter Moll 1926 - 2001





Jas Moll

Gerard Joyeuse







Hervé Leprince-Ringuet and Gérard Joyeuse flew the Falcon 50's maiden flight. It was powered by three Garrett TFE 731-3 jet engines, and flew out of Bordeaux-Mérignac on November 7, 1976.
In December 1976, the company's authorities decided to revamp the prototype, fitting improved wings. Its first flight with the new wings took place on May 6, 1977, out of Istres, again at the hands of Hervé Leprince-Ringuet and Gérard Joyeuse. The plane proved hopes invested in the wing design to be well-founded. The Falcon 50 became the world's first civil aircraft featuring supercritical wings, and secured certification on February 27, 1979.
The prototype of the Mercure 100 made its maiden flight from Mérignac (Gironde, France) on 28th May 1971 with a crew including Jean Coureau, chief pilot, Jérôme Résal, pilot, and Gérard Joyeuse, test engineer