New exhibition pays tribute to Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown

Eric Winkle Brown bust at the Fleet Air Arm Museum
  • A ten-day tribute exhibition to one of the most successful pilots of all time – Captain Eric Brown – is to be held from July 21
  • The exhibition will feature the actual Sea Vampire aircraft he used for his first deck landing and a bronze bust dedicated to him.

A new ten-day exhibition paying tribute to one of the greatest pilots who ever lived, Captain Eric Brown, is due to launch at The National Museum of the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm Museum (FAAM), Yeovilton, on the 21st July.  


A Life Lived at Full Throttle 1919-2016 honours the man who was not only a remarkable naval aviator but also an outstanding test pilot. He was at the cutting edge of aviation technology as it made the transition into the jet age. Captain Eric Brown sadly passed away in February this year.


Aviation Curator at FAAM, Dave Morris, said: “Captain Eric Brown was truly one of the world’s greatest aviators and his experimental and test flying career was not only of great benefit to the Royal Navy’s flying development programme, but it significantly assisted aviation technology and development around the world.   By the end of his flying career he had achieved a world record of having flown no fewer than 487 different aircraft types – a record that is unlikely to ever be beaten.”


Captain Eric Brown’s test flying work for the Fleet Air Arm saw him achieve 2,407 Carrier deck landings and 2,721 Carrier catapult launches. Of the 44 different aircraft types currently on display at the Fleet Air Arm Museum, Captain Eric Brown flew 38 of them including co-piloting Concorde 002 on a test flight. 


During his extensive test flying career, he escaped 23 severely life-threatening situations and survived 15 aircraft crashes, which only serves to emphasise just how demanding and dangerous his work was.


In December 1945, he became the first person to land a jet-powered aircraft onto the deck of an aircraft carrier.  It was one of his most significant achievements in a career full of amazing accomplishments.


Taking centre stage in the exhibition is the actual jet aircraft that Captain Eric Brown flew, on that historic occasion, Sea Vampire LZ551G. It is part of the collection at the Fleet Air Arm Museum and for the 10 day period 21 – 31 July is being repositioned from the Carrier Flight Deck exhibition into Hall 4 as part of a memorial display for this exceptional man. 


The temporary repositioning of this historic aircraft will allow visitors to see and photograph it from a number of different new angles and viewpoints including the elevated gallery landings and platforms within the display hall.


Also on display will be some fascinating artwork by Somerset artist, John England, together with a bronze bust of Eric Brown by sculptor, Jenna Gearing.  Incorporated into the interpretation panel are drawings by local schoolboy, Eachan Hardie, who was inspired by the exploits of Captain Eric Brown. 


The pilot was his hero and they exchanged letters over a period of time – one was even read out at the pilot’s funeral earlier this year. 


The exhibition is free with a valid museum ticket.

Concorde 002

No visit to the Fleet Air Arm Museum would be complete without going on board Concorde 002. Following some thirteen years of development Concorde 002 was the fist British Concorde to take to the skies, taking off from Filton, Bristol on April 9th 1969. (Concorde 001 took off from Toulouse France on March 2nd 1969).

This photo was taken on 4th March 1976, of test pilot Brian Trubshaw to comemorate the last flight of Concorde 002.