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Eric Brown was on a University of Edinburgh exchange course in Germany in 1939, and the first he knew of the war was when the Gestapo came to arrest him. They released him, not realizing he was a pilot in the RAF volunteer reserve: and the rest is history. Eric Brown joined the Fleet Air Arm and went on to be the greatest test pilot in history, flying more different aircraft types than anyone else. Today, at 87, he is in great demand for interviews on history TV documentaries (twelve in 2005!). He is the only man alive who has flown every major (and most minor) combat aircraft of the Second World War as well as all the early jets. Speaking perfect German, he went to Germany in 1945 to test the Nazi jets, interviewing (among others) Hermann Goering and Hanna Reitsch. He flew the suicidally dangerous Me 163 rocket plane, and tested the first British jets. He would have been the first man to break the sound barrier, except that the British government cancelled the programme and gave the technology to America. His naval career continues to this day, as he advises on the new aircraft carrier design for the Royal Navy. A living legend among aviation enthusiasts, his amazing life story deserves to be told in full -- from crashing in front of Winston Churchill to unmasking a Neo-Nazi ring in the 1950s to his terrifying flights in primitive jets and rockets.

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Wings On My Sleeve
Average rating
4.8 / 5
Flying high
June 19th, 2015
"Winkle" Brown is probably one of the greatest flyers ever. His CV beggars belief. This fascinating tale of his career in the RN is a must read for all air enthusiasts. No man has flown more different aircraft or made more carrier landings. His nonchalant approach to test piloting is very typically British. Landing a plane to destruction, whith him flying it! All part of the job. He carried out many roles (and rolls) but flying was his great love and it shows.
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Wings on my sleeve
February 1st, 2015
Wonderful story about a Naval airman in the second world war who became a test pilot with, it seems, a charmed life. Any aviation enthusiast will find his story amazing. The book is very much about his flying experiences, of which Captain Brown has more than could possibly be imagined. But there seems to be so much more that hasn't been covered. There is an episode in which Captain Brown is in Germany at the end of the war and he relates his interrogation of two of the Nazis who ran one of the extermination camps. But the story of this is really just glossed over leaving one with the feeling there is much untold. But still, this is the story of an amazing life, a very good read.
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