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'Greatest pilot' is reunited with Germany's rocket jet

By Lucinda Cameron

Published 11/09/2015

Eric Brown with the Messerschmitt
Eric Brown with the Messerschmitt

The man dubbed Britain's greatest pilot has been reunited with the infamous rocket-powered enemy aircraft he flew 70 years ago.

Captain Eric Brown (96) piloted the Messerschmitt Me 163B-1a Komet on June 10, 1945 after capturing it at Husum, Schleswig Holstein, Germany, at the end of the Second World War.

Under instructions from Sir Winston Churchill - who wanted to learn as much as possible about Germany's technological weapons - Capt Brown was part of a mission tasked with testing rocket aircraft and bringing them back to Britain.

Reaching speeds of up to 600mph, the Komet was the only rocket-powered fighter aircraft ever to have been operational and was the fastest aircraft of the Second World War, but the explosive rocket fuels powering the motor made it highly dangerous to fly.

Capt Brown was reunited with the aircraft at the National Museum of Flight at East Fortune, East Lothian, yesterday. The former Royal Navy test pilot said: "I was pleased to have the opportunity to see the Komet again, 70 years after I flew it."

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