The Brooklands Museum has recently been given a collection of
Bulman papers and photographs. He was, of course, chief test pilot of
Hawkers between the wars but less well known is his preceding career as
an experimental test pilot with the RAE at Farnborough. Amongst the
papers was the following original manuscript letter from the CO of the
Experimental Flight, Squadron Leader RM Hill (later Air Chief Marshal
Sir Roderick), for whom Bulman flew.
Recommendation for award of Bar to AFC.
FO Bulman MC AFC(Flying A) PC
Director of Research
I recommend the above mentioned officer for the award of a bar to
the AFC; generally for exceptional services at all times as an
experimental pilot; especially on the following grounds.
At the request of the Accidents Department an experiment was in
progress to investigate the flying qualities of the Sopwith Camel, with
reference to the considerable number of accidents attending its use as
a training aeroplane. F/O Bulman, further to his normal spinning
experiments, abandoned all controls in a spin and only attempted to
recover when the aeroplane was in an over-the-vertical dive. H e
volunteered to undertake inverted flying experiments to attempt to
throw some light on the Camel's abnormal behaviour inverted. Besides
taking measurements of airspeed when in inverted flight, he
deliberately used his controls to stall the aeroplane when inverted and
also to attempt to produce an inverted spin.
2. On a similar request from the
Accidents Department, F/O Bulman investigated the recovery from spins
on the Bat Bantam aeroplane. It was anticipated that it would be
difficult to recover from a right hand spin with the propeller stopped.
This officer commenced his experiments at 4000 ft, allowed the
propeller to stop in a spin, and had great difficulty in recovering. He
found that the use of engine assisted recovery. He continued his
experiments at 10000ft and carried out between 25 and 30 spins in one
flight, (and) in all cases of right hand spins, engine-stopped,
experiencing difficulty in recovering, and in one or two cases becoming
so giddy that he was unable to recollect his control movements. He
immediately volunteered to repeat the experiments and attempt to
measure the time of recovery with a stop watch, the airspeed, and
height drop. On one occasion, after employing every known method of
using the controls, it took him 3000 ft to make a recovery; in spite of
this he was just able to record the time and height drop.
I consider that his pluck and keenness, combined with a determination
to make a scientific record of his experience, deserves the highest