One of Britain’s most distinguished pilots officially opened a new exhibition at the de Havilland Aircraft Museum in London Colney on Saturday.

Retired Royal Navy pilot Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown unveiled a plaque at the de Havilland At Sea display in Salisbury Hall- one of four exhibitions which the museum is staging this year.

It features the aircraft which Hatfield-based aircraft design and construction company de Havilland produced for the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers from the 1940s to the 1970s.

These include the Sea Hornet, Sea Venom, and Sea Vixen, all of which Captain Brown flew during his career, which saw him achieve world records for the most types of aircraft flown and the most landings on aircraft carriers.

During the opening ceremony Captain Brown told the audience: “the world of naval aviation is a difficult one”, as when disoriented after combat there was no help for the pilot in finding his way back “then you have to land on a carrier”.

He also praised de Havilland for its high quality of design and building naval aircraft. He said: “de Havilland have done a wonderful job, it was a great company and thank God we had de Havilland at the right time in our history”.

He also signed numerous prints of de Havilland’s most famous aircraft, the Second World War “wooden wonder” twin-engine Mosquito fighter bomber.

The museum will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Mosquito’s maiden flight next year. It has three of the aircraft, including the Prototype which was one of a number designed and built at Salisbury Hall and which took off from there.

The exhibition is one of four which the museum is staging this year. Operation Jericho, marking the 1944 Mosquito attack on Amiens Prison, France was opened earlier this year, Horsa Glider Operations of 1944 and opening next month will be de Havilland – The Great War.

This will feature the types of aircraft built for the then Royal Flying Corps (RFC), the shooting down of a German airship at Cuffley, and RFC’s airfield at London Colney.

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