Short SC1 First Flight 2 April 1957 RAF cover signed Test Pilot + Designer

Cover produced for 40th Anniversary of the first flight of the Short SC1.

Cover depicts first prototype, second prototype and Rolls Royce thrust - the Flying Bedspread.

Cover bears Henry VIII stamp cancelled with Belfast Postmark for the 40th Anniversary of the SC1 first flight.

Cover has been flown in VAAC Harrier of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency Boscombe Down on the lastest in a long series of trials on the Vectored thrust and Advanced Aircraft Control Harrier which are working on the development of advanced flight control techniques for future V/STOL aircraft.

By the early 1950s turbojet engine design had reached the stage where output thrust had exceeded the installed weight of the engine so vertical thurst became a possibility. A collaborative venture between Rolls-Royce and the RAF produced the Thrust Measuring Rig in 1953 this was known as The Flying Bedstead.

The SC1 was a small delta winged tail less aircraft and the consturction of XG900 was complete in 1956. Tom Brooke-Smith began taxying trials. tests continued into 1959. In 1960 Brooke-Smith retired and Alex Roberts was appointed project pilot.

In 1961 the aircraft was passed to the Aero Flight at Bedford for further tests being flown later that year at the Paris Air Show and again at the SBAC in 1962.

Cover is signed by Alexander Frederick Cecil Roberts OBE, Development Test Pilot Short Bros 1956-1968

He joined the RAF on National Service in 1954 and was commissioned and posted to 2 Flying Training School Hullavington flying Provosts and Vampires. In 1955 he was posted to RAF Middleton St George flying Vampires. IN 1956 he completed 233 OCU course on Meteors and between 1956 and 1957 he was posted to 615 Squadron at RAF Biggin Hill flying Meteor F8s.

In 1956 he joined Short Brothers Belfast as an Experimental and Development Test Pilot under the leadership of Chief Test Pilot Tom Brooke-Smith. Between 1956 and 1957 he carried out test flying on various aircraft and made initial familiarisation hover flights in SC1 during tethered gantry hover tests.

In 1958 he was responsible for high altitude testing of Canberra U Mk 10 Drone Target aircraft and completed open Cockpit testing on Canberra B8. He was appointed project development pilot on Canberra PR Mk9. Between 1960 and 1962 he flew production Britannia 253 aircraft manufactured for RAF Transport Command. he undertook all SC1 test flying including full transitions using first VTOL fly by wire control system. Between 1964 and 1968 he was responsible for handling stability and control testing of Belfast freighter. In 1969 he was appointed Sales Manager Skyvan and between 1969 and 1973 he was Manager Skyvan division. Between 1973 and 1976 he was General Manager Aircraft at Short Bros and then was Executive Director Aircraft Short Bros 1976-82. In 1989 until 1995 he was Deputy Managing Director Short Bros following privatisation of the Company and acquistion by the Bombardier Group Canada.

Charles Denis Hatton CEng FRAeS FIQA, Member of Design Staff & Head of Quality Short Bros 1936-1982

He was premium Apprentice at Short Bros Rochester in 1936 and in 1940 joined the Stress Offcie and worked as a Stressman on Stirlings. In 1942 he moved to SEBRO Cambridge as Technical Assistant on Stirling war damage repair at RAF stations. He returned to Rochester in 1945 as Senior Draughtsman in the Design Office. In 1948 he transferred to Belfast as Senior Stressman working on SA4 Sperrin. In 1952 he was appointed Principal Stressman on Seamew. In 1954 he was appointed Assistant Chief Engineer and responsibilities included SC1, SC5 Belfast, Skyvan, Fokker 28 and Canberra PR9. In 1968 he was appointed Company Quality Manager and finally retired from Short Bros in 1982