Spitfires And Sea Vampires: The World's Greatest Pilot Dies

Captain Eric "Winkle" Brown has died at the age of 97.
Capt Brown was the Royal Navy's most decorated pilot and holds a number of world records unlikely to ever be beaten - including that of flying the greatest number of different types of aircraft, some 487.
Watch Above: When Kate Met Eric "Winkle" Brown 
A statement released by his family yesterday said: "It is with deep regret that the passing of Captain Eric Melrose Brown CBE DSC AFC is announced."
"Eric was the most decorated pilot of the Fleet Air Arm in which service he was universally known as 'Winkle' on account of his diminutive stature.
He also held three absolute Guinness World Records, including for the number of aircraft carrier deck landings and types of aeroplane flown."
Born in Scotland in 1919 Brown got his first taste of flight aged just seven, sat on his father's knee in the cockpit of a soaring Gloster Gauntlet bi-plane.
A trip to Germany in his teens to watch the Berlin Olympics gave him the opportunity to take a flight with the World War One fighter ace Ernst Udet. The wild ride was to seal his fate and with the outbreak of war in 1939 he joined the Royal Navy Reserve as a Fleet Air Arm as a pilot.
As well as a distinguished combat record, his ability at deck landings saw him much in demand during WWII - by the end of 1943 he'd conducted over 1300 of them on 22 different ships. 
Post-war he commanded the Enemy Aircraft Flight, leading a group of elite airmen test-flying captured aircraft from Germany, Italy and Japan - including early jet engined planes and rocket fighters.
For the next 25 years Capt Brown tested numerous aircraft for the RAF, the Royal Navy and foreign services including the US Air Force and the German Navy. 
Amid crashes, near misses and numerous dangerous missions he notched up many more aviation records - including the first successful landing of a jet engined aircraft on an aircraft carrier, bringing a Sea Vampire to a safe halt on the then HMS Ocean.
Eric "Winkle" Brown took his last flight as a pilot in 1994 nearly seventy years after first being handed the controls of an aircraft by his father.
Still lecturing until last year, when he gave an in-depth interview to Forces TV, he died at East Surrey hospital after a short illness.
Aviation analyst Paul Beaver knew Captain Brown well and shared his memories of the pilot with Forces TV.

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