Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown’s legendary career as naval test pilot spanned three decades during the most exciting and innovative period in aviation history. As the Navy’s Chief Test pilot he played a key role in the design and flight-testing of an entire generation of aircraft, pioneering many new technologies that gave the UK aviation industry a world leading reputation.
The birth of the Jet Age and the radical new designs it spawned, brought with it new levels of risk for the pilots who tested these aircraft but an aviation scientist at heart, Winkle relished problem-solving and finding ingenious ways to overcome difficulties.
His fearlessness and ability to remain calm in the face of danger set him apart as he pushed the boundaries of landing faster and heavier aircraft on aircraft carriers. Within a few years, the advances in jet engine technology saw the top speed of military fighters rise from a ‘sedate’ 600 mph to a blistering 1400 mph.