Taming the ‘Flat Iron’

ELLIS DESCRIBES THE CAREER OF GLOSTER TEST PILOT ‘BILL’ WATERTON AND THE TRAUMAS INVOLVED IN BRINGING THE JAVELIN INTO SERVICE

Massed Javelin FAW.1s of 46 Squadron during Exercise ‘Vigilant’ in May 1957. In the foreground is XA627, which replaced XA570 as ‘B’.

If you were to read only one test pilot autobiography, it should be ‘Bill’ Waterton’s The Quick and the Dead. It has all the derring-do that you would expect, but this is of far less importance than his matterof- fact analysis of the job and the state of the industry, plus an insight into the stresses and angst of being a tradesman not allowed to fulfil his task.

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