British Test Pilot Eric Brown Dies At 97
The name of Eric "Winkle" Brown may not be familiar to U.S. readers, but to the British, he was celebrated as the Royal Navy's most decorated pilot. He held world records for having flown more different types of aircraft than anyone — a total of 487 — and the most carrier landings — 2,407. During World War II he served as a test pilot for aircraft carriers, and by 1943 he had logged 1,500 deck landings on 22 different vessels. He was the first to land a jet on an aircraft carrier, in 1945, and he survived 11 crashes. His work won him numerous medals and honors, including a Distinguished Service Cross. After the war, he test-flew 43 captured German aircraft.
Brown also continued to work as a test pilot after the war, and amassed information that influenced the designs of many Western aircraft and aircraft carriers, according to the New York Times. He wrote about a half-dozen books about his experiences and contributed frequently to aviation magazines. He also was a popular lecturer on aviation topics and served as president of the Royal Aeronautical Society. He was born in Scotland in 1919. He died Sunday at a hospital in Surrey following a brief illness, his family said.