Bill Bedford OBE AFC

Bill Bedford OBE AFC FRAeS (1920-1996)
Bedford was a World War II pilot, flying Hurricanes and Mustangs. From 1956 until 1963 he was Hawker Aircraft Ltd.’s Chief Test Pilot, “and then chief test pilot for Hawker Siddeley Aviation at Dunsfold from 1963 to 1967. He worked on the development of the Sea Hawk, the Hunter and the P.1127, Kestrel and the Harrier aircraft, making the first flights of all of the last three aircraft.” During this time the family lived at Primemeads Farm on Dunsfold Aerodrome. Primemeads Farm, used as wartime flight offices by 180 Squadron, is an historic building in its own right, dating from 1685. Continue reading “Bill Bedford OBE AFC”

Chronology of Test Pilots

Photo credit Bill Burroughs

Dunsfold was second home to a lot of people in the last 70 years. We hope to build a record of just some of those people that are a significant part of the history of the aerodrome.   We will be adding more information over the coming months – additional information and corrections most welcome.

Dunsfold Chief Test Pilots in chronological order:

Dunsfold Test Pilots in chronological order:

  • Mike Oliver,
  • Jim Hawkins DCTP, French TP School   July 1986  
  • Taylor Scott DCTP FAA    October 1987
  • Paul Hopkins, Hawk 200 Project Pilot    1985 – 1988
  • Simon Hargreaves,FAA FRS2 / FA2    1992 – 1996
  • Mark Bowman 1998
  • Rod Frederiksen,  Falklands Ace TP  Late 80’s-early 90’s             
  • Steve Thomas, Falklands Ace TP  1992
  • Jim Ludford  Early 1990’s
  • Bernie Scot  Early 1990’s

Production Test pilots:

  • Frank Bullen,  WWII Spitfires &Mustangs,TP 49 – 60 ( Prod CTP 1955 – 1960 ) Later local Councillor.
  • Frank Murphy OBE, WWII Hurricanes,Typhoons, Tempests,  TP   1944 – 1955 ( inc Hunter crash at Ford )
  • David Lockspeiser 1955 – ? ( inc LDA-1 Boxer 1971 – 1987 )

Comms Pilots:

  • Mike Oliver,
  • Dick Whittington, WWII fighters, Test Pilot inc CTP Gnats.
  • Chris Darwin, FAA Phantoms, Dunsfold 1980’s

Primemeads Farm

Primemeads is an early 17th century oak timberframed farmhouse, with a possible smoke hood and early diamond mullioned window.  Brick house with decorative dentil course shows the house built in two phases. It was Listed by Historic England in April 2017.  Home to the test pilot Neville Duke – in 1955 Duke set the world air speed record of 727.63mph flying the Hunter WB188.

1685 Primemeads Farm

 

2017 Primemeads
1984 Primemeads
1940 Squardon office then at Primemeads
Primemeads Farm 1970’s

WB188, the first P.1067 and Neville Duke’s record breaking aircraft


Please note: The aerodrome is private land and an active airfield. Access is not permitted to some of the buildings and features and we strongly discourage access without permission.