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Dogfight [by the_gneech]

A Life at Full Throttle

On Wednesday evening I went to a talk at the Royal Aeronautical Society on the life and career of test pilot Eric 'Winkle' Brown', who died last month at the age of 97.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Rode the Wall of Death
  • Flew under the Forth Bridge
  • Interrogated top German officers at the close of the Second World War, including Göring
  • Flew captured German jets, including one which was towed back to the UK behind a Spitfire
  • Flew a helicopter with no training whatsoever
  • Was friends with Neil Armstrong, and could have been an astronaut if he'd been prepared to take US citizenship

You can watch the entire talk on YouTube. You can also check out the list of aircraft Winkle flew, which is long enough to need its own Wikipedia page.

I feel the bar has been raised for what constitutes an interesting life lived to the full.


As an aviation novice, I'm left wondering how one tows a jet.. but then, I was unaware until recently that even passenger jets can glide, for surprisingly long distances, as exemplified by a Canadian flight whose name I forget, which flew without engines for something like 90 miles to a disused base runway.

I once thought I'd like to learn to fly, but I'm actually quite comfortable leaving the driving to others - makes burying my muzzle in my iPad/laptop much easier, not to mention enjoying good beer and cider. Not that I'd refuse the opportunity to learn, though.. but I don't know I'd really be able to wrap my head around the bajillion abbreviations, the utter complexity of controls, and so on.

And Zootopia exceeded my expectations. ^_^
I had some 'experience flights' as an Air Cadet, which was very thrilling, but I'm not sure I'd trust myself to fly, from a navigational or mechanical point of view!
You were an Air Cadet? Cool! :)
I wonder if learning to fly a plane will get me over my recent fear of flying. Yeah, being on a turbulent flight last year really freaked me out. :(
I'm not surprised - it would me. And yes, you'd probably feel better once you'd experienced being in control
Hopefully, though right now i'm just trying to get my driver's license! :)