November Clive Rustin came to Kingston to tell the Association all
about his remarkable flying career. Starting in the University Air
Squadron on Chipmunks he went solo in 1952 and as a National Service
pilot flew the DH Vampire TMk11 at Middleton St George.
Qualified on jets he went to the OCU at Pembrey to
learn to fight. Thence to RAF Germany to fly DH Venoms where, on his
last flight, he decided to apply for a permanent commission.
After conversion to the Hunter he joined 56 Squadron and led
their four aircraft aerobatic team. In Cyprus he practised air-ground
weapon aiming and air-air gunnery against flag targets towed by
Mosquitos and Meteors. Painted bullets were used which left a trace on
the flag allowing the firing pilot to be identified.
At 111 Squadron he flew with the Black Arrows Hawker Hunter
team which pioneered large formation aerobatics and, before he joined
them, developed a 22 aircraft loop. He took part in a 90 aircraft
formation, 45 Hunters and 45 Javelins, at the SBAC display at
Years Of Flying
From 'Treble One' Clive moved to Coltishall as the English
Electric Lightning was introduced. In terms of performance this
aircraft was a quantum leap from the Hunter, especially in acceleration
and time-to-height. It was also missile armed with Firestreak and Red
By 1960 he had graduated
from the Empire Test Pilots School (ETPS), then at Farnborough, where,
to Clive's delight, an array of aircraft of all categories was
available. He learnt how to evaluate aircraft performance, stability
and control and handling qualities, and to assess suitability for the
intended operational role.
course an important exercise was to devise, execute and report a flight
test programme on a type new to the pilot, commenting on its fitness
for purpose and noting any changes that were required. The course was
very hard work with theory in the morning, flying in the afternoon and
report writing in the evening. Nowadays graduates are awarded a degree.
His first posting as a test pilot (TP) was to the Royal Aircraft
Establishment (RAE) Bedford. Here, typically, there would be some
fourteen aircraft, including nine experimental types, to be flown by
just four TPs; so, plenty of variety.
Amongst those he flew were the Handley Page HP.115
slender 76.5 degree delta, the Avro 707C two-seat delta, the Short SB.5
with ground-adjustable wing sweep, the supersonic English Electric P.1
Lightning prototype, the BAC.221 ogee-winged conversion of a Fairey
FD.2, the Short SC.1 lift-jet VTOL delta and the Hawker P.1127 vectored
thrust V/STOL prototype, XP831.
Much of the flying on the HP.115, the P.1 and the BAC.221 was Concorde
oriented. Opinion in the USA was that an ogee-winged aircraft, the
Concorde configuration, would be unflyable but the BAC.221 proved them
wrong. To achieve the nose-high attitude required for take-off it had a
long Fairey Gannet nose leg and Lightning main legs because, with the
FD.2 undercarriage, there would not have been enough elevator power to
raise the nose.
The other major
programme was VTOL research. The SC.1 was powered by five Roll-Royce
RB.108 engines, one for propulsion and four for lift, and was
controlled via reaction controls. There were two aircraft, one with a
fly-by-wire system, the other conventional. This fully autostabilised
aircraft was a "dream to fly jetborne".
Transition from wing-borne to jet-borne flight required lighting the
lift engines which needed the intake gills to be opened. The drag
caused the SC.1 to slow and descend which was only arrested when the
lift engines lit and came up to speed. Simulated blind landing research
was also carried out.
P.1127/Kestrel Clive took part in carrier the trials in HMS Bulwark and
HMS Ark Royal. Further VTOL experience was gained on a visit to Dornier
near Munich to test the Do.31 small hover rig in a joint trial with HSA
Dunsfold pilots and engineers (including the Editor). DH/HSA Hatfield
had been working on V/STOL transports, as had Dornier, so the two
companies collaborated on the Dornier Do.31 testing.
In France Clive flew the Breguet 941 STOL transport with its
heavily flapped wing immersed in the slipstream from the propellers of
four interconnected engines whose throttles were closed automatically
on touchdown. It approached at 50 - 55 kn down an 8 deg slope and
stopped in 100 metres; but it was mechanically very complex.
The Hunting-Percival 126 jet flap aircraft was another slow
landing type flown at Bedford. Some 30% of the thrust went to the jet
pipe, 60% to the flap and 10% to the reaction controls. The consequence
was, throttled back to slow down jet flap lift was lost so although the
126 could fly at 60 kn it was in a descent so you had to accelerate to
land. The HP.115 slender delta could be flown down to 35 kn but at less
than 90 kn it sank, so again, you had to accelerate to land at 120 kn.
A DH Comet was used to develop a pilot's take-off director display
allowing maximum performance to be achieved safely at increased all-up
weights. This system was certified by the CAA. The Comet was shared
with the Blind Flying Experimental Unit (BLEU) who 'owned' it so Aero
Flight had to find a twin engined replacement.
A Percival Sea Prince was located but the Ministry said they
couldn't afford the capital outlay to buy it but they had on-charge a
Vulcan which Aero Flight could borrow. The Vulcan cost £5,000 per
flying hour; the Prince with two Leonides piston engines cost about £30
per hour to fly! With the directors installed the Vulcan gave airline
pilots experience in using and assessing the system.
Work at the RAE
involved several overseas trials including flying a two-seat Mirage
IIIB 'flying simulator' equipped with a computer system making it
handle like Concorde.
In the USA Clive
flew and assessed a B-25 simulating the HP.115 and a Bell helicopter
simulating the SC.1. The latter was instantly tuneable; just land,
adjust the computer in the pod, and go. Whilst in the States Clive
'flew' the 6 degrees of freedom NASA Ames simulator, and the Project
Apollo Lunar landing and docking simulators. These 'flew' around inside
a hangar on cables with counterweights, under computer control.
He also visited Sweden to fly the SAAB Draaken and Viggen
and was very impressed that such a small country found the money to
develop such advanced fighters.
out how airline pilots flew airliners he did a two week 'course' in
Ireland with Aer Lingus on a Boeing 707. The highlight of this
enjoyable exercise was flying the 707 at a local air show and doing a
beat-up with, at the insistence of the Irish Captain, the never-exceed'
bells ringing, followed by a steep pull-up and wing-over.
After leaving as O/C of Aero Flight, Clive spent some time with the
Ministry Procurement Executive on air defence systems before being
appointed O/C Avionics Research Flight at RAE Farnborough. Here it was
the systems rather than the aeroplanes that were under test. There were
three Hunters covering avionics, fly-by-wire, and Institute of Aviation
Medicine (IAM) work, with a fourth for general duties. There was also a
helicopter fleet supporting armament systems trials, and a Comet 3B.
This rather overpowered aircraft had spectacular acceleration on
take-off and to relieve the load on the experimental TPs a very
knowledgeable engineer flew with them to deal with emergencies.
Clive was the UK project pilot on the three-nation Canadair
CL-44 tilt-wing V/STOL programme flown at Patuxent River, Maryland.
Canada provided the aircraft, UK the avionics and USA the flight test
instrumentation and base. Initial training was at Montreal.
The aircraft was very successful but again was mechanically
very complex as illustrated by the flying controls. For VTO the wing,
with twin engines and large propellers attached, was rotated nose-up to
point vertically, so yaw was controlled by the ailerons in the
slipstream, roll by differential propeller pitch, and pitch by a pair
of contra-rotating propellers at the tail. In conventional flight with
the wing horizontal the ailerons controlled roll, twin rudders yaw, and
elevators pitch, so during the transition the control functions had to
smoothly transfer between the two alternatives.
By the end of this posting Clive was O/C Flying at
Farnborough when he got the opportunity to take a Comet 4 to Nellis Air
Force Base, Nevada, for satellite navigation trials and fly along the
Next he was O/C
'A' Squadron, A&AEE, Boscombe Down. Here they were working on
service release trials for Buccaneer, Harrier, Jaguar and Phantom
developments and on initial service release trials for the Hawk. The
objective was to set the limits to which the aircraft could be flown
safely by the 'worst' service pilot; a relative term
Harrier trials included vectoring in forward
flight (VIFF) and ship clearances for deck operations using HMS Ark
Royal, well before the advent of the Ski Jump.
Whilst attempting a minimum launch speed take-off at maximum
take-off weight Clive experienced a bow-down launch during which his
Harrier got so close to the water that it raised a bow wave for some
considerable distance. The deck launch officer near the bows signals
launch when he anticipates that the bow will be rising as the aircraft
reaches the end of the flight deck; but on this occasion the bow
stopped early and sank again!
flew the Buccaneer (excellent above 300 kn), the Phantom (awe
inspiring), the calibrated Javelin and the good, old Hunter again. He
was forced to eject from a Jaguar when he experienced a departure, the
'g' oscillating from +6.5 to - 1.75.
was invited by Brian Trubshaw to fly the Concorde on an intake test
sortie and was impressed to be flying at Mach 1.35 - 1.5...with two
engines at idle!
Clive's last flight
with 'A' Squadron was the first service release flight from Boscombe
with the Tornado, having flown 'previews' at Munich and Warton.
Clive's last posting in the RAF was as C/O Handling Squadron
responsible for establishing operating procedures and writing 'Pilot's
Notes'. He did a Lockheed Tristar conversion with British Airways as a
part of this job.
the RAF he joined Ferranti who were involved in developing a fleet AEW
(airborne early warning) airship. A Westinghouse radar would be housed
inside the envelope which contained the accommodation for the crew who
would fly 30 day sorties before refuelling. It would have a 'glass
cockpit', computerised flight management system and vectored thrust
Clive flew airships for
seven years. More variety came with flying Charles Church's Spitfire,
being part of the Primary Trainer Team with John Farley, as well as
flying Venoms and Vampires, all on the airshow circuit.
He has been a consultant with the ETPS, set up and run the
600 member ETPS Association and hopes to return to flying soon with a
Swedish Hunter owner. and for DH Aviation with their Venoms and Vampire.
The talk over, Clive took questions from the floor before Harry
Fraser-Mitchell, who was an aerodynamicist on the HP.115, gave the vote
of thanks for this most interesting and entertaining talk on an amazing