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Sunday, February 21, 2016 - 02:26 AM UTC
Eric winkle, the man who possibly flew more aircraft types than any other man alive or dead has passed away at the age of 97. Read the full story inside written by Alistair Grant in the Edinburgh Evening News.
TRIBUTES have been paid following the death of one of Britain’s greatest airmen at the age of 97.

Leith-born Captain Eric “Winkle” Brown, who died on Sunday, holds three world records and was present at some of the most significant events of the last century.

As the most decorated pilot in the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm, he flew 487 different types of aircraft – more than anyone else in history – and performed a record-smashing 2407 aircraft carrier landings.

Born on January 21, 1919, he was educated at the Royal High School and Edinburgh University, where he learned to fly in the University Air Squadron.

He witnessed the 1936 Olympic Games during his trips to Berlin as a student and became a fluent German speaker, before being arrested by the SS and deported.

To earn money for his studies, Brown became a ‘wall of death’ rider on a small 250cc two-stroke motorbike, often sharing the wall with his boss and a fully-grown male lion riding pillion.

At the outbreak of war, he joined the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve as a Fleet Air Arm pilot. His unique skills soon found him flying fighters from the world’s smallest aircraft carrier, HMS Audacity – before later surviving this ship being torpedoed by a German U-boat in 1941.

He returned to Germany at the end of the war on the orders of Winston Churchill, to capture and fly advanced German aeroplanes.

Here, he witnessed the liberation of Bergen-Belsen camp, acting as interpreter for the trial of the camp commandants. Later, he interrogated prominent Nazis, including Hermann Göring, Heinrich Himmler and the senior Luftwaffe.

As Chief Naval Test Pilot, Brown achieved a host of notable firsts during his extraordinary life. He landed the first jet and the first twin-engined aeroplane, and tested the world’s only jet-powered seaplane fighter in the Solent.

In 1957, he put his German language skills to good use when he was appointed to train the embryonic German Naval Air Arm.

He retired from the Royal Navy in 1970 in the rank of Captain and became the Director-General of the British Helicopter Advisory Board, and was later president of the Royal Aeronautical Society from 1982 to 83.

Brown, who lived in West Sussex in his final years, is the author of a series of autobiographical books and was the subject of the 3000th edition of ‘Desert Island Discs’ in November 2014. A year later, he was honoured at No 10 Downing Street as a Great Scot.

He passed away at East Surrey Hospital on Sunday following a short illness, and is survived by his son, Glen, and his second wife, Jean Kelly Brown.

Aviation expert Paul Beaver, a friend of Brown’s for the last 40 years, paid tribute to a man who was “self-effacing, modest and an absolute delight”.

He said: “He was a great Scot and one of the greatest living pilots. Nobody will ever beat his records. He was a man whose life will never be repeated.”
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Thank you for posting this Darren.
FEB 21, 2016 - 03:17 AM
Farewell Captain Brown, to eternal tailwinds and blue skies. An extraordinary man who made the incredible seem ordinary.
FEB 21, 2016 - 07:02 AM
Never has the Naval Toast of the Day been more appropriate. "Absent Friends." Fair winds and following seas to you, Sir. Travel lightly.
FEB 21, 2016 - 07:37 AM
Read his book Wings on my sleeve well worth reading. A great man and a true hero (RIP)
FEB 21, 2016 - 10:46 AM
I happened across Capt. Brown many years ago at a book-signing in London. I wisely stayed firmly on the sidelines, because to say he was a "character" would be the understatement of the year as he politely "shot down" more than a few enthusiasts who thought they knew more about aircraft than he did. R.I.P. after an amazing life well lived.
FEB 21, 2016 - 03:58 PM
New York Times in the US acknowledges his passing. He was known to all in the aviation community whether you flew planes or build kits of them: LINK
FEB 21, 2016 - 10:33 PM
He was really an man who went beyond the limits of possible. Aviation community should be forever grateful to all he did.
FEB 22, 2016 - 02:50 PM
i met him a couple of years ago at the mosquito museum and whilst i don't collect autographs etc i made sure to buy a couple of prints i saw him sign. if you havn't read his book get a copy, you wont regret it. paul RIP Blue Skies
FEB 23, 2016 - 08:48 PM
I feel if that there is anyone who didnt care about the nationality of planebuilders but about the planes and their performance than it was him. A very special character. RIP gr TC
MAR 01, 2016 - 11:54 PM

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