British Queen celebrates

Captain Eric Brown, a legendary Royal Navy pilot who flew 487 types of aircraft and survived 11 plane crashes, died in hospital on Sunday at the age of 97.

Brown, known as "Winkle", was a world record holder, flying more types of aircraft than anyone else in history and making 2,407 landings on aircraft carriers.

He was also the most decorated pilot of the Fleet Air Arm, the Royal Navy's airborne wing, earning the British royal honours MBE, OBE and CBE.

British Astronaut Tim Peake tweeted a tribute from space: "So sad to hear that Capt Eric 'Winkle' Brown has died - to my mind the greatest test pilot who has ever lived. A true inspiration."



Capt Brown was born in Leith, Scotland in 1919. He flew fighter aircraft during World War Two, survived the sinking of the British escort carrier HMS Audacity and witnessed the liberation of Bergen Belsen concentration camp.

Queen Elizabeth visited the camp in 2015 and met survivors and liberators including Capt Brown, who described the scene as "a field of corpses".

He said the Queen replied: "It must have been horrific really.''

Brown died at East Surrey Hospital after a short illness.

First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas, the head of the Royal Navy, paid tribute to him.

"The Fleet Air Arm may have lost one of its finest and best known pilots, but British aviation has lost something even greater - the most accomplished test pilot of his generation and perhaps of all time, and a huge advocate of military aviation," he said. afp