Following the death of Museum Honorary President Neville Duke earlier this year the Museum is pleased to announce the appointment of Duncan Simpson, another famous Hawker test pilot, to fill that position. Our picture shows him opening the Neville Duke Hall at the Museum in the Summer.
After RAF pilot training, Duncan began his flying career in 1950 flying the Meteor F8 with No 222 (Natal) Squadron and during the period 1953-54 served with the Air Fighting Development Squadron flying the Vampire, Venom, Sabre, Meteor, Swift and Hunter.
In 1954 he joined Neville Duke’s team at Hawker Aircraft Ltd as a test pilot and flew a number of aircraft types including the Sea Fury, Hunter, P1127, Kestrel and Harrier. He led the Harrier Conversion Team in 1969 and became Hawker’s Chief Test Pilot in 1970.
On 21st August 1974, he made the first flight in the Hawk (XX154) and subsequently delivered the first aircraft to the RAF in November 1976.
Duncan served as Deputy Director, Society of British Aircraft Companies between 1978 and 1982. He has won a string of awards for services to aviation during his career including the OBE. He is a vice-president of the Royal International Air Tattoo.