The TSR-2 in Flight

From the first flight test of the TSR-2 XR219 bomber at Boscombe Down, Wiltshire, England, in September 1964, engineers of the British Aircraft Corporation shot (silent) footage from all angles, in both black and white and color. For the first takeoff, pilot Roland Beamont, with navigator Donald Bowen in the second seat, pitched the TSR-2 into a steep climb with afterburner, buzzed the English countryside, then circled for approach-to-landing maneuvers. During initial tests, the TSR-2 engineers could not perfect the sequence in which the gear retracted into the fuselage after takeoff or descended before landing; the footage shows the first success, on test flight number 10. In his first landings, Beamont flew at a rate of descent too steep and fast to avoid a perilous, embarrassing bounce at touchdown. He smoothed out subsequent landings and deployed a parachute to brake the aircraft to a stop on a short field. After each flight, Beamont and Bowen are met by a white-coated ground crew for debriefing. Footage Courtesy of Imperial War Museum, Duxford, England. (01:21)