Trident
Topic Author
Posts: 477
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2000 4:49 am

Death Of 1st Jet Liner Pilot

Sun Aug 11, 2002 6:16 pm

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.
 
backfire
Posts: 3467
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2006 8:01 am

RE: Death Of 1st Jet Liner Pilot

Sun Aug 11, 2002 6:57 pm

I seem to remember reading that his sharp "night-fighter" eyesight was attributed to a diet of carrots, a story put about as a decoy to cover the fact that the RAF was using a new type of radar.
 
Trident
Topic Author
Posts: 477
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2000 4:49 am

RE: Death Of 1st Jet Liner Pilot

Sun Aug 11, 2002 7:37 pm

Yes, the carrot story was a cover for the use of Airborne Intercept radar (AI). In fact, it was still not oficially called Radar at the time.
 
lmml 14/32
Posts: 2358
Joined: Tue Jan 30, 2001 2:27 am

RE: Death Of 1st Jet Liner Pilot

Mon Aug 12, 2002 2:06 am

Cunningham earned the nickname "Cat's Eyes" too.
Do not forget the death of Concorde British Test Pilot Brian Trubshaw two years ago.
I wonder how Cunningham's death was not publicised so much. Speaking for myself this is where I got to know.

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos