We regret to announce that Air Vice Marshal John Brownlow, who was appointed Assistant Commandant to the RAF College in July 1973 and returned as Commandant in 1980, passed away on the 25th September 2022 aged 93. His experiences ranged from flying jet bombers to being one of the RAF’s leading test pilots, and from aerospace company executive to excelling at the controls of light aircraft and gliders.
He trained as a navigator, was commissioned and decided to remain in the RAF. He was posted to 12 Squadron based at Binbrook near Grimsby, and flew the Lincoln bomber, a development of the wartime Lancaster. In 1950 he was selected to be the lead navigator of 12 Lincolns heading the formation for the King’s Birthday fly-past over Buckingham Palace. His pilot was the famous wartime Pathfinder leader, Wing Commander “Hamish” Mahaddie. In mid-1950, Mahaddie chose Brownlow as his navigator when they became the first squadron crew to convert to the new Canberra jet bomber.
He retired on his 65th birthday and embarked on numerous other aviation activities including positions with the Popular Flying Association and the British Gliding Association. He had a special interest in home-built and kit aircraft and he test-flew and certified 122 of them. He was also a non-executive member of the Board of the CAA and became chairman of the Light Aviation Group of the Royal Aeronautical Society. He maintained a close interest in the Air Training Corps and was chairman of the civilian committee of 104 (City of Cambridge) Squadron.