Newsletter 15
? Winter 2006
Updated on 9Dec2006
Aviation Heritage Project
Dunsfold Wings & Wheels
Female Angle
Flight Test from a Desk
Harrier News
Hawk News
Graduate Apprentices
Hawker People News
Hugh Merewether
  1924 - 2006, Test Pilot
  Flight Development
  Faster, Higher, Further
  Spinning With Hugh
JSF Progress
Sea Furies at Reno
Sea Harrier ZA195
Sea Hawk Recovered
Sir Sydney & Sir George
Sopwith & Bradshaw
Summer's Day at Dunsfold
Vulcan to the Skies
Published by the Hawker Association
for the Members.
Contents © Hawker Association

The Editor remembers Hugh as a flight testing colleague...

When I joined Flight Development in 1961 Bill Bedford was Chief Test Pilot, Hugh was his deputy, both covering P.1127 experimental flying, with Duncan Simpson and David Lockspeiser concerned mainly with production Hunters. I, as a junior engineer, found Hugh a joy to work with; his verbal post-flight debriefs were clear and concise and he was always quick to come to our office, then in the Production Hangar, as soon as the paper trace instrumentation rolls were developed and dried by John Weeks in the Instrumentation Laboratory in the Experimental Hangar. We would unroll them on our desks and, with cardboard cursors that we had made from the calibrations, read off the data that Hugh was anxious to see: RPM, JPT, control deflections, throttle position, rates, attitudes and so on. He would compare this with his kneepad notes and write the Test Flight Report.

Hugh Merewether And Flight Development

He also wrote the major part of the large reports, each covering a complete phase of test flying, the FRDs (Flight Reports Dunsfold), although Bill usually signed them off as well. It was one of our more demanding and enjoyable tasks to carry out the analysis of the recorded data and prepare for Hugh the graphs and tables that he carefully specified for these reports. He was very particular that the data should be well presented and it went without saying that it should be accurate. Hugh always had time to sit with the flight development engineers and patiently explain analysis methods that people such as me, fresh from university, would still be unfamiliar with.

For some reason Hugh kept the meaning of his initials, HCH, a secret from us in Flight Development for a long time until one day, on a visit to Beford, I think, he was forced to give his full name, in front of Ambrose Barber, to the security officer - Hugh Christopher Henry he muttered as quietly as possible - but the cat was out of the bag!

Hugh was a charming and reserved man, tall and slim, but physically a rather restless and fidgety person and, when pondering a problem, would rub the back of his head, up and down, with his hand. We both drove to Dunsfold along the A281 so I would often follow him in his blue-grey Jaguar XK150 coupe. He must have used this driving time to think because I would see, through the back window, the hand rubbing the head as he drove along; there was no mistaking Hugh!