I discovered yesterday that John Cunningham, the former Chief Test Pilot of The De Havilland Aircraft Co, died on 22 July. He was 85. Cunningham has the distinction of piloting the De Havilland Comet 1 on its maiden flight in 1949, becoming the first individual to fly a jet airliner. He also flew the De Havilland Trident on its maiden flight in 1962.
During the World War 2 he had a distinguished career as a night fighter pilot flying Bristol Blenheims, Bristol Beaufighters and De Havilland Mosquitos. He became something of a popular hero in the war and was given the nick name of "Cats Eyes Cunningham" by the popular press.
With the passing of his contemporary, Roland Beamont a few months ago, it seems Britain is fast losing some of the greatest pilots it ever produced.