John Lankester Parker

John Lankester Parker

John Lankester Parker

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John Lankester Parker OBE FRAeS Hon. MSLAE'Member of the Society of Licensed Aircraft Engineers', later 'Society of Licensed Aircraft Engineers and Technologists', later incorporated into the 'Royal Aeronautical Society' (1896 – 22 August 1965) was Chief Test Pilot for Short Brothers from 1918 until his retirement in 1945. He joined Shorts in 1916 as a part-time test pilot and assistant to then Chief Test Pilot Ronald Kemp, having been recommended for the post by Captain, later Admiral Sir, Murray Sueter, RNAS. By the time he retired he was a director of the company.

First flying experience

He gained his first flying experience as a pilot and instructor flying for the Northern Aircraft Company's Seaplane School based in Windermere, where he flew, first as a pupil between 1914 and 1916. It was during this time that he made the acquaintance of Murray Sueter, Ronald Kemp and Oscar Gnosspelius, all of whom would figure later in his work at Shorts.

In 1916 he joined the Prodger-Isaacs Syndicate of freelance test pilots, working for several British aircraft manufacturers.


His first assignment with Shorts began on 17 October 1916, when he was asked by Horace Short to test fly a batch of six Short Bombers from the Eastchurch airfield. In spite of his relative youth, his flying skills impressed Horace Short, who soon offered him...
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