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John Cunningham : Second World War Night Fighter Ace and Test Pilot

John Cunningham : Second World War Night Fighter Ace and Test Pilot

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John Cunningham started his illustrious aviation career with the de Havilland Aeronautical Technical School, at the same time learning to fly with 614 Squadron at Hendon. On completing his apprenticeship he helped test fly the Moth Minor with Geoffrey de Havilland Jnr. When WW2 was declared, he was mobilized and started his RAF combat career pioneering the use of AI radar flying Beaufighters and Mosquitos. He completed his service as one of the youngest group captains, with 20 confirmed successes at night or in bad weather. Not wishing a desk job, he returned to his friends at de Havilland, initially as chief test pilot of the de Havilland Engine Company, where his combat experience was invaluable in selling aircraft to overseas air forces. On the death of his close friend Geoffrey de Havilland Jnr, John was appointed chief test pilot of the Aircraft Company and led the flight development of the Comet, the world's first jet airliner, and later the Trident, completing some 35 years of test flying. He died in 2002.




Author/s: Birtles, Philip

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