A bronze statue to honor one of the world’s greatest ever pilots has been unveiled at Edinburgh Airport, Scotland, by Prince Andrew, The Duke of York.
Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown was born in Leith in 1919 and went on to become a British Royal Navy officer after training at RAF Turnhouse, now Edinburgh Airport, in the late 1930s. A highly decorated pilot, his records include flying more types of aircraft than any other pilot in history – 487; the world record for landings on aircraft carriers – 2,407; and the world record for take-offs on aircraft carriers – 2,721. Captain Brown was also responsible for test flying a captured German aircraft in the Second World War.
Former pilots from the Edinburgh University Air Squadron raised the funds for the life-sized bronze statue which was designed by Scottish sculptor David Annand.
Sir John Elvidge, chairman of Edinburgh Airport, said, “Captain Brown is someone who is synonymous with RAF Turnhouse, and in turn, a key figure in the history of what is now Edinburgh Airport. His achievements speak for themselves and the fact his remarkable career is still held in such high regard after all these years is testament to the man himself.
“We are proud of the connection between Edinburgh Airport and the RAF and we want people to share that by learning about this truly inspiring man who served his country with great honor, and this statue is a small token of thanks to him and his legacy.”
Dr Hamish Macleod, chairman of Edinburgh University Air Squadron, said, “Winkle was not only a man who loved to fly, but he also inspired a generation of pilots with his modest good humor, and outstanding courage. The statue of him outside Edinburgh Airport will give the many thousands of passengers the opportunity to reflect on this Scottish hero who can inspire us all.”
The squadron also want to put a scholarship in place to allow youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds to access light aircraft flying.
“Winkle’s legacy can also bring a life-changing experience to today’s youngsters assisting them to learn to fly, or simply experiencing the thrill of flying in small aircraft,” added Macleod.