Buckingham Covers - First Day Covers

John Cochrane


John graduated from RAF College Cranwell in 1952 and joined No 617 Squadron flying Canberra bombers, he then flew Vickers Valiants with Nos 214 and 90 Squadrons.

After graduating from the Empire Test Pilot's School in Farnborough in 1960 and resigned from the RAF retaining the rank of Squadron Leader to join Vickers-Armstrongs Ltd in 1962 as an experimental test pilot. He was appointed Project test pilot for Concorde in 1966 and in 1968 he became Deputy Chief Test Pilot, Commercial Division BAC and in 1970 Assistant Director Flight Operations BAC/BAe.

During the Concorde development project he flew the Mirage III, Mirage IV, Lightning, BAC221 and HP115 having made evaluation test flights in the BAC221 and HP115.

He was co-pilot with Brian Trubshaw on the maiden flight of Concorde 002 on 9 April 1969 and was test pilot for all Concordes manufactured in the UK either in command or as co-pilot.

Responsible for extended flight envelope and intake control systems, he also commanded Concorde 101 (G-AXDN) for all ultimate limit flights.

He was awarded the Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air in 1971, the Derry and Richards Award for flight test achievement in 1977.

He retired from BAe at the end of the Concorde programme and joined Cyprus Airways as an airline Captain, before retiring to the island.

John remained a firm supported of Concorde and was invited by British Airways to take part in its celebration of Concorde during her retirement year in 2003. On Concorde final day in service, he was on board one of the 3 Concordes that landed back to back at Heathrow (G-BOAF). He summed up the day, saying Concorde should have flown for "much, much longer" and was still at the forefront of airline technology. "We should look back at this and see something that we should be proud of. From now on, progress goes sideways or backwards." After the aircraft retirement he supported the efforts of the museum community to preserve the aircraft. He visited Brooklands Museum in early 2006 to see progress on G-BBDG, one of the development aircraft which he pushed to its limits during the flight test programme.

Sadly John Cochrane passed away at his home in Cyprus after a battle with cancer in 2006.