View Full Version : Eric "Winkle" Brown

2nd Jun 2014, 12:11
I hope that I am not pushing the bounds of JB thread subject propriety by asking whether anybody watched the BBC2 documentary on Eric Brown last night?

What an absolutely extraordinary human being and one who has retained a sharpness of intellect and insight into his nineties.


His unassuming sang froid and the matter of fact manner in which he discussed flying killers such as the ME163 and the DH108 was a revelation.

Where do these guys come from and isn't it a pity that they have to go elsewhere in the end?


2nd Jun 2014, 12:19
One of a kind. They broke the mould in heaven when they turned him out.

2,300+ carrier landings including the world's first jet carrier landing. He described the attempt to land a Mosquito on a carrier by saying the stalling speed of the aircraft was 110 mph and the maximum calculated landing speed that would allow the tail to remain part of the aircraft was 87 mph. When he returned to Farnborough his boss said they hadn't been expecting him back! Classic. Was it 476 types in his logbook, including the Me163 and the 262?

2nd Jun 2014, 12:20
Indeed, however the TV programme necessarily (they only had an hour) made some major short cuts in the story and completely ignored a big chunk of the man's post war career. Brown's book "Wings On My Sleeve" is an absolute must read IMO. I am amazed the bloke didn't get a knighthood, or flag rank in the RN.

2nd Jun 2014, 13:15
Fascinating story. And what a busy 6 months he had in 1945... With WWII ending in May he went to Germany to investigate the German aircraft and engine technologies (getting in flights in several different types), interrogated senior German military figures, helped liberate Belsen and landed the first jet aircraft on an aircraft carrier - all before putting up his Christmas tree :eek:

Top guy :ok:

2nd Jun 2014, 13:29
Must admit I had posted joke at the 'Winkle' on another forum. I take it back, that guy is megga. Surely something for him in the next Queens Honours list.


Lon More
2nd Jun 2014, 13:30
Where do these guys come from - Scotland

2nd Jun 2014, 13:41

Nice. :ok:

2nd Jun 2014, 14:45
About 5 years ago one was sitting quietly in an empty pub at the top of Richmond Hill supping a pint and reading a book when 2 older gentlemen came in, one in a wheelchair being pushed by his pal. The pusher (EB) had taken his pal out for a pub lunch from the nearby Royal Star and Garter home for ex-servicemen and they sat down close by and chewed the cud of the latest news about this and that, I couldn't help but listen. I wish that there were more characters around like these blokes. Last night's hour at least fleshed out the bullet points of his military life.


2nd Jun 2014, 15:52
I've just watched it on iPlayer - absolutely fascinating. Immediately before the sequences of Mosquito carrier landings, there was a brief glimpse of a single-engine aircraft marked with the "Prototype" insignia, with a very long nose and looking a bit like a slimmer Wyvern turboprop. Anyone know what it was?

2nd Jun 2014, 15:54
Maybe Martin- Baker MB.5?

Didn't see the prog, but it sounds like it.

2nd Jun 2014, 16:12
Maybe it was the Martin-Baker, although only one of these was ever built, and it was intended for RAF service. I think it was doing a deck landing, so perhaps it was an early Westland Wyvern.

2nd Jun 2014, 16:23
perhaps it was an early Westland Wyvern.

It was, the prop TF.1 with the Rolls Royce Eagle. Blackburn Firebrands, an FAA Curtiss Helldiver and ? the prototype Short Sturgeon also made brief appearances.

Impress to inflate
2nd Jun 2014, 22:09
What a great guy, I've seen him on other documentaries. What a gent, didnt blow his own pipe, just re-lived his life for Tv, put me down for 1 vote for a knighthood for the old boy


Flying Lawyer
2nd Jun 2014, 22:48
If you get an opportunity to hear Captain Brown give a lecture, don't miss it.

He gave the Guild of Air Pilots' annual Cobham Lecture in 2007 and kept the audience of about 240 enthralled for what turned out to be 1 hours - but I doubt if anyone noticed time passing. One of the most interesting lectures I've ever heard.
Only later did it sink in that the elderly gentleman describing events was relating things he'd seen and done by the age of 26!

He received the Guild's prestigious Award of Honour in 2006:
Lord Stevens, Captain Brown, Capt Jock Lowe

In 2006, exceptionally, there were two recipients: Thread here (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?t=249880)

There's an interesting interview by Pat Malone (https://www.airpilots.org/about-the-company/trophies-and-awards/award-winners/the-award-for-aviation-journalism/) here: Profile: Captain E M Brown CBE AFC DFC FRAeS RN (https://www.airpilots.org/ruth-documents/guild-news/GUILD%20NEWS%20June%2009%20pt1.pdf)
See page 9 of the link.


3rd Jun 2014, 13:01
It's clear that you are one of the 'great and the good'
There's no doubt about that at all.

So, what separates you, from me?

I'm a common pilot, about 12000 hours, and just working away.

Could I be a member of your illustrious Guild?

Should I join up?

Flying Lawyer
3rd Jun 2014, 13:25

I'm not one of the 'great and the good'. :)
Most members are or were professional pilots (some very distinguished, such as Liveryman Captain Brown) whereas I'm only a PPL who used to be an aviation lawyer.

So, what separates you, from me?
I applied to become a member and you haven't. (Yet)

Should you join?
I'm very pleased I did, and recommend it.

I'd be happy to propose you.


3rd Jun 2014, 14:50
It's a deal, and thanks.

5th Jun 2014, 23:05
All I can say is....... Fab:)