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 Lockspeiser


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.