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Thread: BBC2 now. Britain's Greatest Pilot

  1. #1

    BBC2 now. Britain's Greatest Pilot

    Just watching a biopic of Captain Eric 'Winkle' Brown. Incredible stuff! Just recounted how they devised tactics to take out V1 rockets, as to shoot them down was likely to bring down the attacking aircraft in the blast. So they just flew alongside, tucked their wing under the wing of the rocket and gently lifted it up to tip it over and send it into the channel.

    Don't make em like that anymore!

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  4. #4
    Those prop planes were "slow" enough to do all kinds of things that jets cannot, and the machineguns and cannons required getting pretty close up and personal.

    I find it interesting to read books by different pilots who flew with one another, or in the same theater, or against each other in the same battles.

    -------
    Here is a great read about an American ace, who flew from WWII through Vietnam, and commanded an RAF squadron at one time.

    Fighter Pilot: the Memoirs of Robin Olds

    Robin Olds was many things to many people. To his West Point football coach he was an All American destined for the National College Football Hall of Fame. To his P-38 and P-51 wartime squadrons in WWII he was the aggressive fighter pilot who made double ace and became their commander in nine short months. For the pioneers of the jet age, he was the wingman on the first jet demo team, a racer in the Thompson Trophy race, and the only U.S. exchange officer to command an RAF squadron. In the tabloid press he was the dashing flying hero who married the glamorous movie star. For the current crop of fighter pilots he is best known as the leader of the F-4 Wolfpack battling over North Vietnam. For cadets at the Air Force Academy he was a role model and mentor. He was all of those things and more.

  5. #5
    A great Scot.

    Southern, this is my personal favourite re WW2 pilots. If you haven't read it I heartily recommend it...

    Fly for Your Life: Robert Stanford Tuck: Amazon.co.uk: Larry Forrester: Books

    A very focused man and pilot.
    If he hadn't been shot down (by ground fire) and taken prisoner I reckon his tally would have outstripped others.
    After the war he went on to be a test pilot too.
    Last edited by private fraser; 03-06-2014 at 08:59. Reason: "by ground fire"
    "Don't say I didnae warn ye !"

  6. #6
    Thanks for the recommendation. I will have to find a used copy of that. The reviews remind me of those of boys who read Hunter, by African legend John Hunter, and read it again when reprinted.

    Another book I have been meaning to read is "The Big Circus" by Clostermann, the Free French pilot who flew with the RAF. My father trained with some French pilots in early 1942, under the world air acrobatic champion, Bevo Howard. When there was a reunion in the early 1990s, several French from the RAF and from the IndoChina theater came.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by private fraser View Post
    A great Scot.

    Southern, this is my personal favourite re WW2 pilots. If you haven't read it I heartily recommend it...

    Fly for Your Life: Robert Stanford Tuck: Amazon.co.uk: Larry Forrester: Books

    A very focused man and pilot.
    If he hadn't been shot down and taken prisoner I reckon his tally would have outstripped others.
    After the war he went on to be a test pilot too.
    Thanks for this - it sounds like a good read so I'll keep my eyes open for a copy.
    O wad some Power the giftie gie us to see oursels as ithers see us!

  8. #8
    Amazing chap and amazing life. You could not have made this up, this guy saw the Fuehrer shake hands with Jesse Owenat the 1936 Olympics, flew with and was inspired to fly by Ernst Udet and interviewed Hermann Goering after the war. Now that alone is an amazing series of events, but to have flown countless experimental planes and what about landing that jet on the carrier... The guy is amazing, really enjoyed that program. Amazing

  9. #9
    Sadly, I feel that the mould was broken a long time ago. .... Respect to The Man.

  10. #10
    Don't know if it was ever on TV there, but the History Channel had two long documentaries, one about the surrender of the German rocket engineers to Allies, and the other about the capture of the FW 190, ME 262, and other aircraft and parts, like the Horten Ho 2-29 stealth bomber. It has old films of Eric Brown and Jeffrey Quill flying captured Luftwaffe jet aircraft. What a set of nerves, to just climb in an unknown aircraft and take off. No sweat, total confidence.

    But during WWII, any pilots who survived to 1943 had to do that, as new bombers and fighters were sent to the front. A few skilled pilots would learn how to fly them, then teach the others without risking precious machinery, by just reading manuals and sitting in at the controls blindfolded. My father and his friends learned on biplanes, then single wing T-34 trainers, then the P-40, and in the field, the B-24, B-25, B-26, P-47 Thunderbolt, P-38 Liightning, and P-51, B-17, B-29, and A-26. Especially in the Pacific , some pilots flew fighters, dive bombers, bombers and cargo planes - whatever was available, and whatever the mission, as new aircraft came on line.

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