Eric “Winkle” Brown, who died today aged 97. By some measure the greatest pilot there’s ever been. He flew 487 types of plane ( a record that’ll never be beaten), carried out 2,407 carrier landings (also a record) including the first with a jet aircraft and with a twin engined plane and was the only Allied pilot to fly the Me 163, a thing only slightly short of suicide. Other career highlights included interviewing Hermann Goering and other German figures while using Himmler’s private plane as his own transport, appearing on the 3,000 issue of Desert Island Discs and, notwithstanding his RAF career, working as a test pilot for Focke Wulf.
After appearing on Desert Island discs the presenter commented:
“When you read through his life story, it makes James Bond seem like a bit of a slacker,”
He was still giving lectures as late as last year.