Former CAA test pilot, Davies, dies

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David Davies, chief test pilot for the UK Civil Aviation Authority for 33 years, died on 30 November, aged 83. A former Royal Navy pilot, Davies joined the CAA as chief test pilot in 1949 and was instrumental in drafting pilot-handling requirements for jet aircraft, drawing up new rules governing aircraft stability, control, performance and flying qualities. He flew the Vickers Viscount, Bristol Britannia, de Havilland Comet, Concorde and most modern jet aircraft. Davies persuaded Boeing to include a bigger fin and full-time rudder boost on the 707, and insisted that UK-registered 727s should have automatic stick-pushers to protect the average airline pilot from the "superstall", a flaw endemic in T-tailed rear-engined aircraft. He had previously had stickpushers fitted to the BAC One-Eleven and Hawker Siddeley Trident.