Now Think Sound Barrier!
I was excited to see details of a lecture held recently in Glasgow, recounting the Struggle to Break the Sound Barrier. [Nice history on WikiPedia, Ed]
How easy it is today to jump into an aircraft, and expect to fly safely round the world in the luxury of an arm chair 7 miles or more above the surface of the earth, or know that the modern aircraft of our Air Forces can fly on every limit known, in the knowledge that all the aerodynamic tests and trials have been carried out.
Eric Brown is now 92. He gave up his wings at 70, but still 22 years later is lecturing on a subject which was at the time uncharted territory, a race to fly faster than Mach1, the Speed of Sound. Chuck Yeager got there first, but now ponder the following.
Captain “Winkle” Brown was with the Royal Navy for 31 years, much of it as an outstanding test pilot.
He flew 487 different types, (not variants) and made 2407 Aircraft Carrier landings, both World records.
At University he studied German, so at the end of the war as a linguist he interrogated many leading German aviation personalities such as Willy Messerschmitt, Ernst Heinkel, and Hanna Reitsch..
What an interesting life, and still with stories to tell, and knowledge to pass on. There’s a lovely interview with Capt. Brown here.
By Bob Derham