‘Win­kle’ Brown memo­rial un­veiled at Ed­in­burgh

Pilot - - NOTES -

For­mer pi­lots of the Ed­in­burgh Uni­ver­sity Air Squadron are seek­ing to raise funds of £100,000 to com­mem­o­rate Eric ‘Win­kle’ Brown, who was raised in the Scot­tish Bor­ders, schooled at Ed­in­burgh’s Royal High School, stud­ied Ger­man at Ed­in­burgh Uni­ver­sity and in the late 1930s trained to fly at what was then RAF Turn­house, now Ed­in­burgh Air­port.

With the fi­nan­cial sup­port of many for­mer UAS mem­bers, in­di­vid­u­als and cor­po­rate donors, and as­sis­tance from Ed­in­burgh Air­port Limited, the first phase of the project, the in­stal­la­tion of a life-size bronze statue of ‘Win­kle’ on the Plaza to the air­port’s east en­trance, has now been com­pleted and was un­veiled by His Royal High­ness Prince An­drew (him­self a for­mer naval avi­a­tor) on 2 July. An hon­our guard was pro­vided by stu­dent pi­lots from the East of Scot­land UAS and a con­tin­gent of Naval Cadets.

The life-size statue, by Scot­tish sculp­tor David An­nand, de­picts ‘Win­kle’ as a young pi­lot in 1930s-style fly­ing gear strid­ing to­wards his air­craft. ‘The on­go­ing sec­ond phase is to raise sig­nif­i­cant funds for Win­kle Brown Fly­ing Schol­ar­ships to en­able some of to­day’s young­sters, in­clud­ing those who are from dis­ad­van­taged back­grounds, to ex­pe­ri­ence the life en­hanc­ing ben­e­fits of fly­ing in light air­craft,’ the UAS’S fundrais­ers say.

Mod­est in stature (which earned him his nick­name), but huge in achieve­ment, when war was de­clared in 1939 Eric Brown joined the Royal Navy as a Fleet Air Arm pi­lot. Dur­ing war­time ser­vice, and as a post-war test pi­lot, he flew more types of air­craft than any other pi­lot in his­tory: 487, rang­ing from 1930s bi­planes, to he­li­copters and su­per­sonic jets, and he test-flew many cap­tured Luft­waffe air­craft, in­clud­ing the in­fa­mous rocket-pow­ered Messer­schmitt Me 163 Komet. He held, and posthu­mously is likely al­ways to hold, the world record for mak­ing the great­est num­ber of car­rier deck land­ings – 2,407.

Hamish Macleod, Chair­man of Ed­in­burgh UAS As­so­ci­a­tion said: “Win­kle was not only a man who loved to fly, but he also inspired a gen­er­a­tion of pi­lots with his mod­est good hu­mour and out­stand­ing courage. This statue of him out­side Ed­in­burgh Air­port will give the many thou­sands of pas­sen­gers the op­por­tu­nity to re­flect on this Scot­tish hero who can in­spire us all. Win­kle’s legacy can also bring a life-chang­ing ex­pe­ri­ence to to­day’s young­sters by as­sist­ing them to learn to fly, or simply ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the thrill of fly­ing in small air­craft.

“Any­one in­ter­ested in help­ing some of to­day’s young­sters to take off into life- en­hanc­ing fly­ing ex­pe­ri­ences and pos­si­ble ca­reers in avi­a­tion, or to stim­u­late in­ter­est in STEM sub­jects, can find out more about Win­kle Brown, in­clud­ing watch­ing a video at the Eric Win­kle Brown page of the Ed­in­burgh Uni­ver­sity Air Squadron web­site (ed­in­burghuas.com/ win­kle-memo­rial). Then, if you wish, please make a con­tri­bu­tion to his mem­ory.”

ABOVE: seen here with HRH Prince An­drew, the life-size bronze is the first stage of a project to raise money to train dis­ad­van­taged young­sters to fly

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