Many members will remember David in the 1950s as a test pilot at
Dunsfold. He flew the Hunter beautifully and was the master of the
curved approach, touching down just as he levelled the wings. Full of
fun he would 'buzz' from behind we flight development engineers
operating the F-47 camera out in the middle of the airfield; we soon
learned to watch out for a low flying Hunter in the circuit. He was
also well known for having a sought-after Pirelli calendar on his
office wall and owning a white Lotus Elite, Colin Chapman's fibreglass
monococque sports coupe with aerodynamics by Frank Costin. He kept that
car all his life eventually having it restored in British racing green.
Son of Sir Ben Lockspeiser, David was born at Farnborough in April 1927. He studied at the Miles Aeronautical Technical School, joined the RAF and trained as a pilot. Having qualified as a pilot attack instructor and instrument ratings examiner, he left the RAF in 1955 as a flight lieutenant, joining Hawker as a production and development test pilot flying Sea Furies and Hunters (See NL.18).
David was not only a test pilot but also an innovative engineer who
designed the LDA-01 (Land Development Aircraft, later named Boxer)
utility aircraft, a pusher canard with detachable payload containers
for different roles, such as transport for people, animals or goods and
crop spraying.(Roger Dabbs did the stressing). He built a scaled down
prototype in a Nissen hut at Dunsfold aerodrome when he was working for
Hawker but he flew it for the first time in August 1971 at British
Aircraft Corporation's airfield at Wisley after he had moved to BAC in
1968 as a communications pilot. Development continued until 1987 when
the aircraft was destroyed in a hangar fire at Old Sarum where it was
being stored. (See NL.10).
In 1977 David returned to test flying when he moved to Singapore,
with ex Hawker engineer Bill Weetman, to join Lockheed Air Services,
developing new weapon systems for the Singapore Air Force Hunter
fighters. During his time with Hawker he had been forced to give up his
hobby of motor racing as the company did not want one of its test
pilots taking the risk, but on his return to Britain in 1984 he drove
his Elite on rallies across Europe and the UK.
David, a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, flew
more than 7,000 hours in 100 different aircraft and continued designing
aeroplanes until a few weeks before his death on March 23rd 2014 at the
age of 86.