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Squadron Leader Dougie D S Bridson
Contributions about Dougie from Professional Pilots Rumour Network PPRuNe for a former 4 Sqn pilot.
                                                       dougbridsonobit.jpg, 13907 bytes
From Mona, his daughter: It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my father, Douglas Bridson,
previously RAF and Gulf Air, on Monday, 7th November 2011, peacefully after a long illness.

And then there followed a flood of tributes and stories about Dougie from those who had known him over the
From Jw411:  Your mother has just called me and I am so sad to hear that Doug has gone off to the hangar
in the sky. I have to tell you that your father was, without doubt, the finest pilot that I have ever met
and flown with. He really was a truly natural pilot. He put aeroplanes on like a ratting jacket. It didn't
matter if it was a Lightning, an L-1011 or a glider. He always got the best out of them.

In fact, his glider aerobatic displays were a joy to watch. I can very well remember a Battle of Britain
display at Benson when he came on after the noise of 4 Lightnings in reheat and he still got a standing
ovation from the crowd.

He was the master of understatement and he had a wicked sense of humour.

Doug and I were on the Argosy together in the RAF and I took over from him as CFI of Chilterns Gliding

I seem to remember that he went to a little airline called Peters Aviation flying DH Herons out of
Norwich when he left the RAF. I think they were taken over by Air Anglia.

Then he went out to Bahrain with Gulf Aviation (later Gulfair) flying Herons and F-27s ending up on
the L-1011 Tristar.

God bless you Doug; you taught me so much and I shall miss you dearly.

As best as I can recall, his glider the Skylark 2 (BGA733) was the prototype and it had been beefed up for
inverted flight.  Doug sold it round about 1971 (still with competition number 5) on the fin.  Last
year I was contacted by a Ppruner using the callsign Riley Dove. He was involved with some chaps
who were restoring Doug's old Skylark with a view to displaying it in a museum.

Quite recently Doug's good lady sent me the original Slingsby pilots notes which I passed to Riley
From oldmansquipper:  Aviator supreme and the perfect gentleman. I am priviledged to have known, and
honoured to have flown with you. Thank you, Doug. Rest in Peace.
From Jack Harr: Yes, Peter's Aviation. Doug told me the story about a night stop at Aberdeen. Air Anglia
had just acquired some shiny new F27 Friendships. Some F27 pilots took the mickey unmercifully about Doug's
old fashioned Heron with its fixed undercarriage.

Next morning, Doug had to position back to Norwich in one of the shiny new Friendships. He was seated near
a window and noticed something amiss as they taxied out. He delayed informing the stewardess until they
neared the holding point and then rang his call bell. Stroppy stewardesss: 

"What is it? We are about to take off." 

"You might like to pass this note to the captain". 

Mutter mutter! 

The note: "Your undercarriage locks are still in".
From Wander00: Seem to remember Doug being involved in aerotowing 2 x T21 from Cranwell to
Weston-Super-Mare in early 60s. Flew with him at Cranwell too. Great guy, human to us cadets. Best wishes
to his family. RIP 
From Fokkerwokker: Flew with Doug in the Gulf during the mid-70s on the F27. Top aviator.  Top bloke.
Very saddened to hear of his passing.
From OUAQUKGF Ops:  Yet another fine Commander and Gentleman from GF's B737 Fleet has made his final
flight. It was a privilege to have known Doug.
From Fitter 2:  Sad news. A gentleman and superb pilot it was a privilege to have known (and been
instructed by). R.I.P. 
From Phil Jeffery: I'm very sorry to hear this and for your family's loss. 

I well remember Dougie in the late fifties when I joined Dunstable whilst an RAF apprentice at Halton.
He shared a Skylark 2 with the late Frank Foster. Both were accomplished cross-country pilots with
Frank becoming World two-seater champion competing with Nick Goodhart, who also sadly died this year. 

Dougie was a very smooth aerobatic pilot in both gliders and powered aircraft. I think at one time he was
the RAF's Hawker Hunter solo display pilot. His performances on Dunstable open days in an underpowered Tiger
Moth tug were brilliant with an uncanny ability to conserve altitude during an aerobatic sequence. His piece
de resistance involved disappearing off the south west end of the field and then reappear from below site
level at the other end. 

I remember him making an unauthorised arrival at Dunstable in an RAF Chipmunk with the canopy open and an
Olympia canopy back to front over his head. John Everett, the then CFI, managed to signal him to depart
quickly before Sqn Ldr Goodbody, who just happened to be visiting the club, could apprehend him. 

Probably the most laid back character I've ever encountered. 
From BaSIL: Sqn Ldr Bridson was the boss of the Argosy OCU when I was on the course about 1968.
He was a relaxed and approachable commander and I'm not at all surprised by the eulogistic praise heaped
upon this fine man by those who knew him better than I. 
From Carol Clifford (nee Foster):  It has been so many years since my father (Frank Foster died in 1958),
but at the time of his death, he and Doug shared a Skylark II glider together based at LGC, Dunstable. 
I often wondered whether Doug continued gliding and what happened to the glider.
My kindest best wishes and thoughts to Doug's family. 
From Brian Stableford in South Africa:  "The sad passing of another icon in our lives.

I have an abiding memory of one midsummer evening, after a hard days towing (gliders) at Benson.

Returning from the last tow of the day, I flew past to drop the tow rope and pull up for a stall

The only snag was that I forgot to release the rope, and as the Chipmunk swung around, the rope
came snaking past the cockpit!

Badly shaken, I dropped the rope, landed deep and taxied back to the hangar and as I was pushing
the Chippy into the hangar, I heard footsteps and felt another, pushing the other wing.

A softly spoken Bridson voice, with no hint of admonishment, said "A friend of mine tried that
trick and he is no longer with us".

I froze and heard his footsteps leave the hangar.

He never mentioned it again.

We salute you."
From RileyDove: Sad to hear the news of Doug's death. I didn't meet him but had the opportunity to
save his Skylark glider from a very uncertain fate. Reading through the log book its fascinating to see
what he achieved in the machine-that made saving it important to me and spurred Tim Moore of Skysport
Engineering to purchase her on my advice.

She is very safe and only the best outcome for her future will be considered with museum display being
the minimum possible outcome.  Condolences to Doug's family. 
From Cogs: Hi Mona, I would just like to say how very sorry I am to hear of your fathers death.
You will see from the number of letters added to you Thread that your father was highly thought of and
greatly respected. I only flew with him a handful of times when he was at RAF Benson flying Argosy's, but
I was in the same gliding club as him at Benson too. He entertained Jock Manson and myself at Swanton
Morely when we paid a weeks visit. He was delighted to see us, and made us very welcome. We even had time
to do some illegal kiting in a Bocian with him. He was in his element doing something which was frowned
upon in some circles(he loved upsetting the establishment). 

He qualified me as a glider instructor, and because of this I able to have the pleasure of teaching others
to fly, who in turn were able to find their love of flying.  Your father was truly a wonderful person,
loved and admired by all that knew him. He will be sadly lost.
From Jimmy & Joy Stokes:  As Jimmy is currently in hospital and unable to use the internet,
I have asked my brother to pass this sad news to Jimmy & Joy. I am sure that they would like to offer their
sincere condolences at this sad news. The fraternity of GF Heron & F27 pilots from the '60's is fast
dwindling ... !  RIP.
From Horton: I met your father when l joined G.F. He was the most knowledgeable person that l have
ever met. He was also a true gentleman with wonderful sense of humour. My condolences to your family. R.I.P. 

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