ACA Woking News by Paul Holden, PRO

18 June 2002


Des Penrose
Des Penrose June 2002
The speaker at the June meeting of Woking ACA was Desmond Penrose, who gave a fascinating inside account of test flying from Hatfield during the 1950s and 1960s.

He joined the RAF on a short service commission and, after a tour in Fighter Command, was posted to ETPS. After leaving the RAF he joined de Havillands, working under 'Cat’s Eyes’ Cunningham on development of the Trident and Sea Vixen.

When on a Trident acceptance trip with a senior civil airline captain in the right hand seat, they suffered an elevator jam at 30,000 feet. He found that he could maintain control with ailerons and power settings only, and brought the aircraft back to Hatfield for a very long final approach. To avoid alerting anyone snooping on the ATC frequency to his commercially sensitive predicament, he asked the controller to get the chap in the office two floors below him (Cunningham) to ask the chap in the office two floors below him (the Chief Fire Officer) to get his equipment ready to receive him on arrival! It turned out that the problem was caused by a foreign object jamming the control run.

This was just one of many stories he recounted, which indicated what a cool analytical approach he took to all aspects of flying.

Des recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of his first jet flight by flying a Mig15 in the USA!

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