Pat Fillingham

After learning to fly with the RAF Volunteer Reserve and training at the de Havilland Technical School, Pat Fillingham joined de Havilland as a test pilot in 1939. He spent much of the early part of the War carrying out production test flights of Tiger Moth biplane trainers, including those produced at the Morris Motors works in Cowley, Oxford. He rose to become chief production test pilot and his 2200 Mosquito flights is believed to be a record.

Post War, Fillingham was busy flying all de Havilland products including the Dove, Mosquito and Vampire. On 22 May 1946, he carried out the first flight of the Chipmunk from Downsview, Canada. On 26 August 1949, he carried out the first flight of the first British-built Chipmunk, WB549, displaying it at the SBAC show at Farnborough just over a week later. Flying another Chipmunk, he was British Air Racing Champion in 1952 and winner of the King’s Cup in 1953.

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WB549 First Flight and SBAC Displays, 1949

 

Fillingham went on to test fly the Comet and Trident jet airliners, retiring as Deputy Chief Test Pilot of Hawker Siddeley Aviation in 1975.

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George Cannon

George Cannon gained his RAF wings on the Boulton Paul Balliol, a Merlin-engined trainer.  Following conversion to jets, he completed a tour on 29(F)Squadron flying the Meteor NF11 and a tour as a Qualified Flying Instructor (QFI) on the Vampire T11.  In February 1960, he joined No 19 Course at the Empire Test Pilots’ School (ETPS) at Farnborough; his third flight of the Course was in WB549, which he also flew as a glider tug during the gliding element of the Test Pilot Course.

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19 ETPS Course, February 1960

After graduating from ETPS, Cannon joined the Aeroplane & Armament Experimental Establishment at Boscombe Down where he carried out handling trials on the Lightning and Gnat and became one of the first pilots to fly jet V/STOL aircraft, testing the forerunners to the Harrier, the P1127 and Kestrel.

P1127 IWM

P1127 (IWM)

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