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Wings on My Sleeve

The World's Greatest Test Pilot Tells His Story
Narrated by: Cameron Stewart
Length: 9 hrs and 18 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (57 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The autobiography of one of the greatest pilots in history.

In 1939 Eric Brown was on a University of Edinburgh exchange course in Germany, and the first he knew of the war was when the Gestapo came to arrest him. They released him, not realising he was a pilot in the RAF volunteer reserve - and the rest is history.

Eric Brown joined the Fleet Air Arm and went on to be the greatest test pilot in history, flying more different aircraft types than anyone else. During his lifetime he made a record-breaking 2,407 aircraft carrier landings and survived 11 plane crashes.

One of Britain's few German-speaking airmen, he went to Germany in 1945 to test the Nazi jets, interviewing (among others) Hermann Goering and Hanna Reitsch. He flew the suicidally dangerous Me 163 rocket plane and tested the first British jets.

Wings on My Sleeve is 'Winkle' Brown's incredible story.

©2006 Eric Brown (P)2016 Orion Publishing Group

What members say

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Unique, fascinating, humble

Definitely one of my favourite books. Eric Brown’s story is unique and well written, capturing the extraordinary times of his life and the flying experiences he had. Told with a humility that is rare amongst his peers, the story gives a glimpse of the hard work, discipline and focus on perfection that laid solid foundations for all Navy air arms for generations to come.

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Great

Interesting if you are interested in planes, fascinating if you love planes and their history

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For enthusiasts

This work tends toward the technical and would appeal to senior retired air crew and related support workers I believe.
The risks Eric Brown and many other test pilots accepted as part of their duty during war time and post war Britain amazed me.

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an amazing book

This is truly a must read; an amazing book about an amazing life in the air.

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Top story

Was really interesting story and a must listen for ww2 fighter plane fans. Top narrative and well writen.

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Great story about an incredible flying career.

Really enjoyed this book, but felt that i didn't really get to know much about Eric Brown personally. A couple of things that I knew about him, for example that he attended the 1933 Olympics and not shaking Hermann Goering's hand, were absent. Highly recommended nontheless.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Jean
  • 05-07-2016

Fascinating memoir

Captain Eric Brown died 21 February 2016 at the age of 97 in Surry, England. Brown was born in Leth, Scotland in 1919. This renewed the interest in his memoir and various biographies about Brown. This memoir was originally published in 1961. It has recently been reprinted but also is now an e-book and audiobook.

The book starts in 1939 when Brown was on an exchange course in German from the University of Edinburgh. The Gestapo escorted him from Germany stating the two counties were now at war. Brown briefly covers his early life but most of the book is about his flying career. Brown was the most decorated flyer of WWII in RN history. He is the only man to have flown every type of plane flown or experimented with during WWII not only British but planes from the United States, Italy, Japan and Germany. Brown had more carrier take offs and landings than any other RN pilot. Early in the War he was stationed aboard the carrier HMS Audacity. During the war he was moved from flying combat missions to that of a test pilot. He tested the early British jets and even flew the Nazi jets. After the War he interviewed many Nazi leaders including Hermann Goering and Hanna Reitsch.

I particularly enjoyed the section where he crashed his plane in front of Winston S. Churchill. Earlier Churchill learned to fly planes and survived a crash after which Clementine suggested he stop flying planes. Brown also tells about uncovering a neo-Nazi ring in the 1950’s. During the Korean War Brown flew Panther’s off the carrier HMS Peruses. Brown served in the Royal Navy from 1939 to 1970.

The book is well written and understated in the true English fashion. The book also had a quite understated humor to it. I found the memoir absolutely fascinating and I learned so much more about the air war during WWII but also the various types of planes. If you are interested in airplanes and WWII you will find this a must read book. Cameron Stewart did a good job narrating the book. Stewart is an American film and Television actor who also narrates audiobooks.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Airogue
  • 23-01-2018

a delight to listen

I'm sure my love and passion for Aviation influences my opinion on this book however one cannot deny the fact that this man LED an incredible Life by any measure. he's like a real life Forrest Gump in who he has met and what he has influenced. I like this book so much that I bought the paper version as well.

I found if anything this book could have gone even deeper into detail on many topics and it would have been enjoy the same.

like nearly every book I listen to I did find I was comfortable listening at 1.2 speed. at those slightly increase speeds nearly all the books I've listened to sound more like conversation versus a lecture.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Erl Gould Purnell
  • 03-06-2017

Best of the Best

Winkle Brown is simply the very best test pilot E V E R. This book chronicles his long career in the Royal Navy and is truly exceptional. The details about specific flights in props, jets, multiengine, helicopters and gliders (including over 50 German WWII planes) is mind boggling. That he didn't get killed is amazing in and of itself but, then, he was Winkle Brown. What this single individual brought to RN aviation cannot be overstated—test flying myriad aircraft, developing landing techniques including the first jet aboard a carrier, exchange programs with the US and Germany, etc. Moreover, Brown was a liaison to Germany and helped bring the German Navy into NATO. Extraordinary. Not only is his story ever-so good but he's written it in a really engaging tone and voice. If you're interested in cutting edge flying, a terrifically talented and courageous aviator and history that can never be replicated, read or listen to "Wings On My Sleeve."

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  • Jay Grady
  • 02-07-2016

A great read!

I found this a real turner. The story of a truly unique flying career, never to be repeated.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Bob Upndown
  • 23-10-2016

An incredible story from start to finish

If this were a work of fiction you'd say it was far fetched. Eric Brown was present at so many aviation milestones and saw so much in his long life. He had so many lucky escapes I'm beginning to think it was divine intervention as well as skill and luck that saved him. I met him once and he was a perfect gentleman. His book is gripping throughout and gives an incredible insight into wartime and post-war aviation development.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Colin D.
  • 16-01-2017

A Remarkable Man and Incredible Pilot

A very interesting account of the life of a remarkable man and incredible pilot. It is mind boggling how many aircraft types and helicopters he flew. His skill , daring and enthusiasm are to be admired and his award of a CBE was well deserved.

The narration was very good, being clear and well paced.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • John D
  • 30-09-2016

What a remarkable career

Really enjoyable story of a remarkable career. Quite humbling, and yet not at all boastful. Very interesting to hear about the German experimental aircraft from the end of WWll

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • DFB
  • 24-07-2016

An exceptional story

The story of an incredible man that covers a vast range of aviation situations and aircraft types. I can never understand why Winkle Brown is not better known for his record breaking achievements.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Joe
  • 28-06-2019

Outstanding and astonishing life!

I just loved everything about this book! If your interested in flight then this is a must read! Can’t believe one man did all of this!?!

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  • Mark Jason Clayton
  • 25-06-2019

One of the best aviation bio's ever written.

One of the best aviation bio's ever written. A must read for any aviation enthusiast.

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  • Steve
  • 12-05-2019

The most incredible autobiographical adventure.

An amazing adventure that couldn’t have been invented by Hollywood. In fact it’s bizarre that Hollywood haven’t already made a film of this history. A journey through the incredible and dangerous evolution of combat aircraft.
Cameron Stewart is the perfect choice to tell this saga and his delivery is a sheer delight.
As you can see, I’m quite a fan of this audiobook and I do believe it’s the best I’ve had the pleasure of listening to so far. Highly recommended.

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  • Goat
  • 21-03-2019

What an amazing life

Fearless, Intelligent and Fascinating. No one will come close to the number of different planes Eric Brown flew. So much insight into some incredible situations. Nicely read also.

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  • Sean
  • 05-12-2018

What an extraordinary life.

I brilliant insight into an extraordinary career.
what an amazing time to be involved in the design & testing of so many prototype aircraft.