Eric Brown (pilot) : biography
Captain Eric Melrose "Winkle" Brown, CBE, DSC, AFC, Hon FRAeS (born 21 January 1919) is a British former Royal Navy officer and test pilot who has flown more types of aircraft than anyone else in history, piloting 487 different aircraft types. He is also the Fleet Air Arm’s most decorated living pilot and holds the world record for aircraft carrier landings – 2,407.
Brown was born on 21 January 1919, in Leith, near Edinburgh in Scotland. He first flew when he was eight or ten when he was taken up in a Gloster Gauntlet by his father, the younger Brown sitting on his father's knee.http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=gmY-YUWGKWY
In 1936 Brown's father, an ex-Royal Flying Corps pilot, had taken him to see the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, where, Hermann Göring having recently announced the existence of the Luftwaffe, Brown and his father met and were invited to join social gatherings, by members of the newly-disclosed organisation. It was here that Brown first met Ernst Udet, a former World War I fighter ace. Brown, a fluent German-speaker, soon discovered in himself and Udet a shared love of flying and Udet offered to take Brown up with him. Brown eagerly accepted the German's offer, and after his arrival at the appointed airfield at Halle, he was soon flying in a two-seat Bucker Jungmann which Udet threw around much to Brown's delight. Udet told Brown he "must learn to fly" and that he "had the temperament of a fighter pilot".
In 1937 Brown left The Royal High School and entered Edinburgh University studying Modern Languages, with an emphasis on German. While there he joined the University's Air Unit and received his first formal flying instruction. In February 1938 he returned to Germany, where, having been invited to attend the 1938 Automobile Exhibition by Udet, by then a Luftwaffe Major General, he saw the demonstration of the Focke-Wulf Fw 61 helicopter flown by Hanna Reitsch before a small crowd inside the Deutschlandhalle. During this visit he met and got to know Reitsch. Brown was later to renew his acquaintance with her after the war, in less pleasant circumstances, she having been arrested after the German surrender in 1945.
In the meantime, Brown had been selected to take part as an exchange student at the Salem International College, located on the banks of Lake Constance and it was while there in Germany that Brown was woken up with a loud knocking on his door one morning in September 1939. Upon opening the door he was met by a woman with the announcement that "our countries are at war". Soon after, Brown was arrested by the SS. Fortunately, they merely escorted Brown in his MG Magnette sports car to the Swiss border, saying they were allowing him to keep the car because they "had no spares for it".https://www.afresearch.org/skins/rims/q_mod_be0e99f3-fc56-4ccb-8dfe-670c0822a153/q_act_downloadpaper/q_obj_8f344cd8-def6-4cf0-8f09-b1ae3d0bb216/display.aspx?rs=enginespage
He flew aircraft from Britain, the United States, Germany, Italy and Japan and is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as holding the record for flying the greatest number of different aircraft. The official record is 487, but only includes basic types. For example Captain Brown flew fourteen (14) versions of the Spitfire and Seafire and although these versions are very different they only appear once in the list. The list only includes aircraft flown by Brown as 'Captain in Command'.
Due to the special circumstances involved, he doesn't think that this record will ever be beaten.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JL5M21NLUg
Brown has written several books about his experiences, including many describing the flight characteristics of the various aircraft he flew and an autobiography, Wings on My Sleeve, first published in 1961 and considerably up-dated in later editions. He is also the author of dozens of articles in aviation magazines and journals. via http://www.theaviationindex.com
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