Remembering the sky-high achievements of Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown

One of my many interests is aviation which is why on my web site I have a section on aviation and a section on aviation films.

So I was saddened to hear of the recent death, aged 97, of the legendary – but not so widely known – Eric Brown, a British test pilot known as ‘Winkle’.

This obituary concludes with an explanation of his nickname and a reminder of how the attribute which led to it actually saved his life:

He was 5ft 7in – short for a pilot – which earned him his nickname and helped save his life when in 1949 he was flying the De Havilland 108, which he called “a killer”. This was the plane in which the test pilot Geoffrey de Havilland had died three years earlier when, at Mach 0.88; the plane slipped out of control. Propelled upwards, De Havilland had broken his neck on the canopy. “He was a big man. I was short,” wrote Brown. “… This was the moment of truth.”


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