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AVM John Howe, AFC, CBE

Discussion in 'Roll of Honor & Memories - All Other Conflicts' started by GRW, Feb 28, 2016.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

    Oct 26, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Stirling, Scotland
    "Air Vice-Marshal John Howe, who has died aged 85, was one of the RAF’s most experienced and capable Cold War fighter pilots, whose flying career spanned Second World War piston-engined aircraft to the supersonic Lightning and Phantom.
    In early 1960 Howe was appointed to command the RAF’s first Lightning squadron, No 74 Tiger Squadron, based in Norfolk. The aircraft represented a great advance in technology and performance, with a remarkable rate of climb to heights in excess of 60,000 ft and capable of flying at twice the speed of sound.
    With no simulator or two-seat training version of the aircraft, Howe made his, and the squadron’s, first flight on June 14 1960. A few weeks later he was instructed to provide a four-aircraft formation for the annual Farnborough Air Show.
    Despite the inevitable early teething troubles with the complex aircraft, Howe and his pilots flew on all but one day of the show. The squadron was made the RAF’s official aerobatics team for 1961 and was in demand for appearances at British and European shows. For the Farnborough event that year, Howe trained and led a “diamond nine” formation.
    Howe realised that air shows were good for publicity and potential international sales of aircraft, but the time devoted to them hindered the development of full operational capability. He drove himself, and others, hard, but he was a highly respected leader. The squadron’s high morale helped it to reach operational status within the first 10 months despite the many problems that had to be overcome. At the end of his tour, Howe was awarded the AFC.
    He said of the Lightning: “It was one of the most exhilarating aeroplanes, even by today’s standards.”
    John Frederick George Howe was born in East London, South Africa, on March 26 1930 and educated at St Andrew’s College, Grahamstown. As soon as he left school, he joined the South African Air Force and trained as a pilot. In early 1951 he joined No 2 Squadron, known as the Flying Cheetahs, which was based in South Korea as part of the United Nations forces."

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