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Air Commodore Ken Goodwin RIP

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Air Commodore Ken Goodwin RIP

Old 15th Oct 2020, 19:50
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Air Commodore Ken Goodwin RIP

I learnt of his death this morning but I don't know his date of death and although there was an obituary in todays Telegraph for me at least it is hidden behind a paywall but perhaps someone can oblige ;
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/obituari...across-europe/ .

I never met the man but remember his time as OC the Air Training Corps and his signature on our awards certificates ! Up here in Tier 3 north of England I have seen kind remembrances by both Harry Lowe a former ATC Wing Commander as well as AVM Sandy Hunter . RIP .
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Old 15th Oct 2020, 20:36
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I was on the UAS with his son at Newton whilst he was in charge of the Air Cadets. An absolute hero to us sprogs and limitless top cover in the bar for many Friday night shenanigans- just the antidote to all the teachers and snowdrops.
As for his last trip in a Lightning when he appeared put of the gloom for a fly past at said grass airfield -Mums the word! RIP Sir, you inspired dozens of us!
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Old 15th Oct 2020, 22:09
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Originally Posted by David Thompson View Post
I learnt of his death this morning but I don't know his date of death and although there was an obituary in todays Telegraph for me at least it is hidden behind a paywall but perhaps someone can oblige ;
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/obituari...across-europe/ .
.
The DT obituary gives the date as Sept 5th 2020
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Old 19th Oct 2020, 21:53
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Air Commodore Ken Goodwin, pilot who thrilled crowds across Europe with his aerobatic displays – obituary

Irreverent and high-spirited, he always put on a spectacular show – a report of one said the crowd ‘gasped and gasped again in admiration’
ByTelegraph Obituaries14 October 2020 • 4:47pmhttps://www.telegraph.co.uk/content/...pegimwidth=480Ken GoodwinAir Commodore Ken Goodwin, who has died aged 92, was a Cold War fighter pilot whose brilliant solo aerobatic displays attracted widespread acclaim.

When he joined 118 Squadron in July 1955, the squadron, based at Jever in northern Germany, had recently been re-equipped with the Hawker Hunter. His skill soon attracted the attention of his commanding officer, and he was encouraged to develop a six-minute individual display of aerobatics.

This consisted of a roll immediately after take-off and straight into a loop. After a series of turns and rolls he made a high-speed inverted fly-past and climb and, after a hesitation roll, he made an inverted approach before landing.

“All in all, it was fairly spectacular by the time I finished,” Goodwin commented: “At least I am told it was – naturally I’ve never seen it myself.”

His meticulous execution of the display resulted in his selection as the official aerobatic pilot for the whole of the Second Tactical Air Force in Germany. Over the next two years he performed at displays across Europe, where he was heralded as a brilliant pilot in the many newspaper articles describing his exploits.

After two years with 118 Squadron he was awarded the AFC in recognition of his achievements, and the widespread publicity for the RAF it had attracted across Europe.

The son of a First World War veteran who had served in the Coldstream Guards, Kenneth Joseph Goodwin was born at St Pancras, London, on May 2 1928. In August 1940 he and his two sisters were evacuated to the US, where they remained for five years in the foster care of Robert and Kay Fisher at their home in Pittsford, New York.

Goodwin was determined to follow his elder brother, who had served throughout the war as a pilot. Initially there was no requirement for new pilots, so Goodwin enlisted as an airman in 1946 and trained as an airframe fitter. The seeds of the precision that would be the hallmark of his time as an aerobatic pilot were sown on the parade ground, where he excelled at drill. He was selected to join the Ceremonial Unit at RAF Halton, regarded as a “cream” posting, and he was on parade at the Lord Mayor’s Show, the Cenotaph Parade, and the British Legion Service of Remembrance at the Albert Hall.

Finally, in July 1949 he was commissioned and began his training as a pilot. After gaining his wings he joined 92 Squadron at RAF Linton-on-Ouse near York, which was equipped with the Meteor fighter. He was soon selected to be the squadron’s aerobatic pilot, and he later led the formation team. He was to develop his skill as a solo aerobatic pilot when he was posted to 118 Squadron.
Goodwin climbing into his HunterGoodwin returned from Germany at the end of 1957, and joined the Central Fighter Establishment (CFE), where he and his fellow pilots devised tactics and evaluated a range of fighters. When the Lightning entered service at the end of 1959, the CFE pilots were the first to fly the new aircraft and devise a training plan for pilots destined to join squadrons.

He was appointed to the Lightning Conversion Unit. Initially, there were no dual-control versions of the supersonic fighter so pilots making their first flight were “chased” by Goodwin and his fellow instructors. In July 1962 the two-seat aircraft had arrived and was much in demand to fly senior officers and “celebrities” anxious to join the “Thousand Miles Per Hour Club”.

Goodwin developed a solo aerobatic routine in the Lightning. After a 10-minute display in front of 140,000 people at RAF Middleton St George near Darlington, the Northern Echo reported: “The crowd gasped and gasped again with admiration as they were treated to the display of their lives.”

After a period in Bangkok, and at the HQ of the Far East Air Force in Singapore, Goodwin assumed command of 74 (Tiger) Squadron at RAF Leuchars in Fife. Flying from their Scottish base, the squadron’s Lightnings regularly intercepted Russian aircraft flying near UK airspace.

On one occasion, during an exercise in Cyprus, the RAF station commander complained about the noise of the aircraft. A few days later, he and his officers were at a local party to celebrate Christmas when one of Goodwin’s pilots gave an impromptu flying display. His finale, a rocket-like climb, could be heard across the island.

Goodwin, in full dress uniform, was summoned to see the station commander, but luckily the commander-in-chief, an Army general, was attending a party nearby and had seen the performance; he immediately contacted the RAF commander, congratulating him on the “bloody good show from the RAF”.

In May 1967 74 Squadron was reassigned to RAF Tengah in Singapore. On June 4 Goodwin led the first section, and over the next few days, all 13 aircraft flew via staging posts, in company with Victor air-to-air refuelling tankers, arriving in Singapore to provide air defence for the region.

Goodwin’s high spirits and occasional irreverence often brought him into conflict with his senior officers. A fine pianist, he was always game for a party, and he soon established a special relationship with the local Tiger Brewery, which was equally anxious to embrace the arrival of the RAF’s “Tiger” squadron as a marvellous promotional opportunity.

After two successful years, Goodwin left the squadron in March 1969. At his farewell dinner he was presented with a beer tankard with an inscription of his trademark catchphrase, “Don’t Worry About a Thing”.

In 1972 he was appointed to command RAF Wattisham in Suffolk, the home of two Lightning squadrons. He was hugely popular with the officers and airmen, and he remained fully current as a fighter pilot.

After appointments at RAF Strike Command and as Air Adviser in Ottawa, he became the Deputy Captain of the Queen’s Flight. His final appointment was as Air Officer Commanding Air Cadets, a period he enjoyed immensely. He was appointed CBE.

After retiring in July 1982 he was the commander of the south-west region of the Air Training Corps.

Goodwin was a great motivator and an excellent mentor who ensured that his charges made the very best of their abilities.

He enjoyed golf and was captain at the Burnham and Berrow Club. He was president of the 74 Squadron Association, and the “Jever Steam Laundry”, whose aim is “to promote the irreverent camaraderie that epitomised the vigorous approach to both professional excellence in the fighter role and to the riotously enjoyable living at RAF Jever during the golden age of jet fighter operations”.

Ken Goodwin married Sue in 1961. She died in 2019, and he is survived by their son, a former RAF Tornado pilot, and daughter.

Ken Goodwin, born May 2 1928, died September 5 2020
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Old 20th Oct 2020, 07:38
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I've read a plenty about Ken Goodwin in many books, essentially about the Lightning. He was described in one, by Roland Beaumont, as one of a handful of Lightning pilots, who truly excelled, in his opinion, at displaying the aircraft. The obituary above is a brilliant valediction if that's the right choice of term, it conveys the very spirit, in my opinion, of the RAF.

FB
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Old 20th Oct 2020, 10:57
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Goodwin’s high spirits and occasional irreverence often brought him into conflict with his senior officers. A fine pianist, he was always game for a party, and he soon established a special relationship with the local Tiger Brewery, which was equally anxious to embrace the arrival of the RAF’s “Tiger” squadron as a marvellous promotional opportunity.
RIP, Ken. We occupied adjacent places on the Stn Cdr's carpet at Tengah, along with 2 other miscreants, after some rather 'inappropriate' behaviour after hours in the Lounge Bar ... to the accompaniment of Ken on the piano. It was the night of 15/16 Dec 68, it says here on my Formal Written Warning*. ISTR I was banned from the Mess for 4 weeks [exempt Dining Room] ... I never discovered what was said to Ken after we junior officers had departed the office!

* "Bullwhip" Lageson had a fine way with the written word.
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Old 20th Oct 2020, 11:35
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I am pretty sure (apologies if not!) that he was on my region comissioning board back in 1992, when going for my VGS VR(T) Air Cadet Hoficer!
Probably the first time I have ever met a Group Captain (Other than my mates dad on my ATC local squadron....but I never counted him!)

I can still remember it today because of the three officers present he was the one who put me most at ease and chatted rather than just bluntly asked!
I think what also helped was that some time (a couple of weeks IIRC) just before the interview he had been guest of honour at our VGS presention dinner as we had won some trophy or another...and had very much enjoyed himself, and spent most of the interview saying what a good do it was and trying to remember the name of a specific cocktail hed tried there!
I passed the interview, so thank you Sir for helping me to achieve that.
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Old 20th Oct 2020, 12:22
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Dining-in night just before 74's departure from Leuchars.
Mess staff appear with two very large, covered food trays, positioned in front of the respective Sqn Commanders - Ken and 'Cuth' Kieth Williamson (23).
Reveal one tabby cat and a large cockerel, who eyed each other up along the top table. Animal scrap avoided by ensuing bun fight between squadrons.



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Old 20th Oct 2020, 12:27
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Originally Posted by safetypee View Post
Dining-in night just before 74's departure from Leuchars.
Mess staff appear with two very large, covered food trays, positioned in front of the respective Sqn Commanders - Ken and 'Cuth' Kieth Williamson (23).
Reveal one tabby cat and a large cockerel, who eyed each other up along the top table. Animal scrap avoided by ensuing bun fight between squadrons.
The Cockerel would have been spot on for 43 had they been there at the time. I suppose a Red painted Eagle and a Bengal Tiger would have been in breach of what passed for H & S back in the 1960s. Not to mention the messing around involved in securing receipt of each in time.

FB
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Old 20th Oct 2020, 14:53
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I was at the Paris 1961 air show when Ken gave a spectacular display. As I mentioned before here on PPRuNe:

"I shot some 8mm cine film of 74 Sqn displaying their Lightnings at the Paris (Le Bourget) Airshow (24th Paris Salon Aéronautique) in May 1961. Witness the screen grabs below. Displayed as grabbed frames the quality is poor, but they look 100% better when projected.

I was one of the two crews from 99 and 511 Sqn that crewed a RAF Transport Command Britannia that was on static display or the duration of the display. One of my better trips IMHO.

The flying display programme was long, lasting (with a lunchtime interval of an hour-and-a-half) from nearly ten in the morning till after six in the evening and had something for everyone.

As I recall after 53-years (with the help of some notes made at the time), 74's display as led by Sqn Ldr John Howe was first class and consisted of wingovers with nine aircraft (in 1961 the largest number of Lightnings ever seen publicly together) and rolls with four. One manoeuvre at the end had the Parisian spectators on their feet applauding.

As the main formation of Lightnings wheeled away to the front with spectators turning to watch them, a singleton flown by Flt. Lt. Ken Goodwin, who'd detached himself from the nine-man formation came screaming from behind the spectators at near sonic speed with his afterburners at full blast and at very low-level just over the spectator’s heads.

The sudden shock of noise hit like a thunderclap and startled everyone, but when it was realised that it was part of the display and spectators had recovered from the shock, they were on their feet and clapping in a very appreciative manner, something I’d never experienced before, especially as it was the French applauding the British!

Flt Lt Goodwin then did a solo aerobatics display which included Derry turns and low inverted fly-bys."
My original 2014 post together with some screen grabs from my 8mm cine film taken at the time are on PPRuNe here (Post #32):
111 Squadron RAF Lightning display team



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