Sussex

Tim Peake pays tribute to Capt Eric 'Winkle' Brown

Eric Brown on Desert Island Discs
Image caption Eric Brown's life was celebrated by Desert Island Discs in 2014

Astronaut Tim Peake has paid tribute to Capt Eric "Winkle" Brown, who died at the age of 97, saying he was "the greatest test pilot who ever lived".

Capt Brown was the Navy's most decorated pilot and had flown 487 types of aircraft during his career.

The veteran, who was born in Leith, Edinburgh, and later moved to Sussex, was the first Naval pilot to land a jet on an aircraft carrier.

He also held the record for the most carrier deck landings at 2,407.

British astronaut Tim Peake tweeted a tribute from the International Space Station: "So sad to hear that Capt Eric 'Winkle' Brown has died - to my mind the greatest test pilot who has ever lived. A true inspiration."

The pilot, who had been appointed MBE, OBE and CBE, died at East Surrey Hospital on Sunday after a short illness.

First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas described Capt Brown as one of the Royal Navy's finest.

He said: "The Fleet Air Arm may have lost one of its finest and best known pilots, but British aviation has lost something even greater - the most accomplished test pilot of his generation and perhaps of all time, and a huge advocate of military aviation."

Image copyright ESA
Image caption Sussex astronaut Tim Peak said Capt "Winkle" Brown was "a true inspiration"

Landmark life

  • Flew 487 different types of aircraft, a world record that is unlikely ever to be matched
  • Piloted 2,407 aircraft carrier landings
  • Appointed MBE, OBE and CBE
  • Survived 11 plane crashes and the sinking of HMS Audacity in 1941
  • Met Churchill and King George VI numerous times
  • Was at the liberation of Bergen Belsen
  • Interrogated some of the leading Nazis after the war, including Heinrich Himmler, Hermann Goering and Belsen's chief guards Josef Kramer and Irma Grese

Related Topics

More on this story