ACA Woking News by Bill Bawden, PRO

16 January 2010

A Life in Test Flying

The guest speaker at the January meeting of the AirCrew Association was former test pilot, Wing Commander Clive Rustin AFC, who gave an absorbing and enthusiastically received account of his work in aircraft development.

After flying Vampire, Venom and Hunter fighters with RAF squadrons including a tour with the Black Arrows formation display team, Clive trained at the Empire Test Pilots' School and began a new career flight testing a wide variety of experimental and prototype aircraft. These included many that were developed into operational types, quite a few that did not, and early trials leading to the adoption of delta airframes, sustained supersonic flight and vertical take-off and landing aircraft.

Clive then held a series of appointments commanding aeronautical units at Boscombe Down, Bedford and Farnborough and continued test flying at these establishments. Having survived an emergency ejection from a disintegrating Jaguar fighter, of which, because of a head injury, he remembers little, and having flown some 160 different types, his 'retirement' is far from restful as he continues to fly on the air show circuit, pilot airships and train private owners of ex-military fighter aircraft.

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