Friday, February 25, 2011

S/Ldr Joseph ‘Joe’ Peter Tyszko MC AFC 1919-1965

S/Ldr Joseph ‘Joe’ Peter Tyszko MC AFC was born in 1919 in Nikolaev ( Ukraine ) and educated in Poland . He served with the Polish Air Force from 1938 and came to the United Kingdom in 1940, when he served with No. 301 (Polish) Bomber Sqn. From 1942 he was with No. 24 Commonwealth Sqn, engaged in V.I .P. communication duties.

In 1951 he completed No. 10 E.T.P.S. course at Farnborough and was test-flying bombers which included the Canberra , Vulcan and Victor at the AAEE, Boscombe Down. In 1954, he left the RAF having tested more than 60 types of aircraft and joined Airwork Ltd as chief test pilot.
From 1960 he worked for Cessna as their area manager in Brussels . He was killed in the crash of a Cessna 210 in Sweden in January 1965.

W/Cdr Ralph Edward 'Titch' Havercroft 1916-1995

Sgt. Ralph (Titch) Havercroft flew with No 92 Squadron during the Battle of Britain. His score was 3 destroyed 1 shared and 2 unconfirmed. He flew 200 sorties during the battle and helped shoot down a Junkers 88 on August 13th.
Over the period 1936 to 1945 there was a total of 49 Test Pilots involved in the development of the various Marks and Variants of the Spitfire. S/Ldr R.E. Havercroft., RAF was one of them.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Flt Lt R.B.'Tom' Prickett 1921-

To help Armstrong Siddeley Motors Ltd with their increased amount of research into prop-jet and purejet aircraft, the company's staff of test pilots was augmented by the engagement of F/L. Tom Prickett in 1950, who had been granted an early release from the R.A.F. for the purpose, after 9 years service. Prickett, a Canadian joined the R.A.F. (Fighter Command) in 1940. During the war he served Nos. 80 and 130 Squadrons, flying Spitfires and Tempests and therafter was an instructor in a Meteor Conversion Unit. At Moreton Valence on Friday, August 31st 1951 F/L. R. B. Prickett established no fewer than four official time-to-height records demonstrating the versatility of the Gloster Meteor and the power of the Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire 2 engines.
Has flown 60 types, including captured German aircraft.

S/Ldr James 'Jimmy'.C.Nelson AFC 1920-1989

Jimmy Nelson was born in Colorado, USA in 1920 and served in the RAF's No.133 (Eagle) Squadron, he did not transfer to the USAAF in 1942, staying in the RAF. He flew Spitfires before going to RAE Farnborough as a test pilot in 1943. In March 1944 he had a bad crash in a Mosquito which kept him out of action for a few months, before returning to the RAE on the Jet Development Flight. He joined Avro in 1948 after three years as a test pilot for Miles Aircraft. Besides the Avro 707 he flew the Ashton, Shackleton and Athena but then returned to the USA in 1953.

S/Ldr John Stuart Muller-Rowland DSO DFC 1921-1950

Stuart Muller-Rowland was born on 27th November 1921 in Woking, Surrey. During the war he flew Bristol Blenheim bombers with 60 Squadron in India, later flying Bristol Beaufighters with 211 Squadron in Burma. After the war, with the rank of Squadron Leader, he joined the Empire Test Pilots School, completing No. 6 course. He was posted to the Royal Aircraft Establishment in 1948 and was named DH 108 pilot for the high speed programme.
Squadron Leader Stuart Muller-Rowland was killed when DH.108, VW120 crashed on 15 February 1950 at Little Brickhill whilst involved in transonic dive research.The test flight was supposed to examine the effects of change from sub-sonic to transonic flight, but the aircraft is thought to have broken up whilst in a dive.

S/Ldr Samuel Eric 'Red' Esler DFC 1918-1949

Avro's deputy chief test pilot, Samuel Eric Esler joined A. V. Roe and Co. June, 1948, and was responsible for a great deal of flying on Tudor aircraft; especially notable was his climb to 40,000ft in 47 min in the jet-propelled Tudor 8. In the absence in Canada of Avro's chief test pilot, Mr. J. H.Orrell, Esler was made responsible for all flying on the Type 707.
A Belfast man, Esler was educated at Skegoniel School and Belfast College of Technology. Before the war he was a car salesman in Belfast and a sergeant in the R.A.F.V.R. Commissioned in May, 1942, he served in No. 120 Squadron, Coastal Command,flying Liberators.He was awarded the D.F.C. on December 4th, 1942, the citation recording that he had damaged two enemy submarines (heavily damaging U-449) and that on three occasions he had taken part in operational sorties necessitating almost continuous blind flying owing to extremely bad weather.

The Avro 707,a vital link in the chain of British aeronautical research—began its taxying trials at Boscombe Down on September 3rd 1949, and during one of these tests made a short hop a few feet above the ground. The first flight was delayed by an unfavourable wind until the following evening, when it took to the air. Esler was airborne for twenty minutes.
On September 6th 1949 the 707 arrived at Farnborough for static exhibition at the S.B.A.C. Display. On September 30th, VX784 was on a flight from the Royal Aircraft Establishment when it crashed killing Esler. The crash occurred near Blackbushe and the aircraft was almost totally destroyed by fire.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Vice Admiral Sir Edward 'Ted' Anson KCB 1929-2014

Ted Anson (back row- 2nd from Right) with the other Test Pilots and Observers

Vice Admiral Sir Edward Anson KCB was born in Adelaide, South Australia. After being educated at Westgate-on-Sea, Kent and in Nairobi, Kenya, ‘Ted’ entered the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth in 1943. As a Midshipman and Sub-Lieutenant he served on board the aircraft carrier HMS Implacable and in the destroyer HMS Agincourt. After pilot training he served in the aircraft carriers HMS Glory, HMS Ark Royal, HMS Bulwark and HMS Victorious.
As a newly qualified pilot in the Korean War, he was designated wingman to the commanding officer of 801 Naval Air Squadron in the carrier Glory, and then flight leader in 807 Squadron from the carrier Ocean. He flew 107 ground attack sorties over enemy territory and numerous fighter patrols; he flew many more, in the Seahawk jet, as senior pilot of 895 Squadron during the Suez crisis in 1956.
In 1957 Anson joined the elite group attending the Empire Test Pilot School, and later flew Scimitar jets in 803, the first Scimitar squadron. On its first embarkation, in Victorious on September 22 1958, its commanding officer, Commander Des Russell, was killed in an aircraft accident. Though Anson was still only a lieutenant, it fell to him as senior pilot (second-in-command) of 803 to maintain the morale of the other pilots .
In 1961, after two years with Blackburn, Anson returned to the Navy as senior pilot of 700Z Naval Air Flight, the Navy’s Buccaneer trials unit, based at Lossiemouth. The first version of the Buccaneer was underpowered and its engines unreliable. Anson’s job, at which he succeeded superbly, was to meld the aircrew into a team and teach them to fly an aircraft whose aerodynamics were completely different from anything they had flown before.
Over the next 18 months Anson continued to develop the Buccaneer’s distinctive weapon system and tactics, and from 1962 to 1964 he commanded the Navy’s first Buccaneer squadron, 801 Naval Air Squadron. The squadron embarked in Ark Royal and was later deployed to the Far East in Victorious during the Indonesian Confrontation. The Buccaneer was the largest aircraft to embark in a British carrier, and Anson’s firm but personable leadership, allied to his great experience, resolved all difficulties; the aircraft gave outstanding service in the fleet.

On promotion to commander in 1964, Anson took command of the frigate Eskimo before serving as commander (Air) at Lossiemouth, and in Eagle. He subsequently commanded the Inter-Service Hovercraft Unit. In 1972-73, as a captain, he was naval and air attaché to Japan and South Korea.
Anson was recalled to command the frigate Juno and the 4th Frigate Squadron, and to prepare him to take command in 1976 of Ark Royal, then thought to be the Navy’s last fixed-wing carrier; when her Buccaneers launched for the final time, Anson flagged them off from the flight deck.
After promotion to rear-admiral in 1980 he became flag officer Naval Air Command at Yeovilton. He was promoted to vice-admiral in 1982 and appointed chief of staff to the Commander-in-Chief Fleet at fleet headquarters at Northwood. On his retirement from the Navy, Anson had flown 2,700 hours in scores of aircraft from biplane to fast jet, and made 571 deck launches and 534 deck landings.
After a spell with BAe at its Filton headquarters, he was made president of BAe’s civil aircraft division in the United States.

Ronald W. (John) Ford 1922-1958

Mr R W Ford (John) joined the RAF in 1941 aged 19, and after serving in Italy,Greece and Palestine,  became a Test pilot with an RAF MU. He rejoined Fighter Command in Sept 1951 and left the RAF in 1953. He had flown nearly 2,500hrs on more than 35 different aircraft types.

In April 1954 he joined the Fairey Aviation Company at Ringway  as a test pilot. He was seconded to Rolls Royce to assist with development flying on the Conway powered Vulcan in August 1958 following a period with Avions Fairey at Gosselies, Belgium. different types.

He was killed in the crash of Vulcan VX770 on 20th Sept 1958 at Syerston Airfield  during the Battle of Britain Display