Joe L'Estrange - Vulcan Pilot

Joe L'Estrange - Vulcan Pilot

Postby VRT Southend Vulcan on Sun 21 Jan 2018, 5:02 pm

I’m sure many of you will have heard of the renowned Vulcan display pilot, Squadron Leader Joe L’Estrange. Those of a certain age may even have been lucky enough to have witnessed him displaying one of the mighty deltas.

Sadly we have to report Joe’s passing last Sunday evening, 14 January 2018, following illness. He had been active up until the autumn but his illness finally took its toll.

Joe had a distinguished career with the RAF. After joining in August 1944, training initially as an Air Gunner on Wellingtons and Lancasters, he went on to retrain as a pilot in 1950. This led him to fly Hornets, Vampires and Venoms, as well as many other different aircraft throughout the 1950s. Joe also flew naval aircraft from the aircraft carriers Ark Royal, Albion, Centaur and Victorious during a two-year exchange posting with the Fleet Air Arm.

In 1962 Joe was posted to 230 Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) at Finningley to begin his 21-year association with the Vulcan. He joined 35 Squadron at Coningsby in May 1963 and gave the first of many Vulcan displays at Honington in July the following year. After four years as a Vulcan QFI, he was posted to the Vulcan force at Akrotiri in 1969. Returning to the UK with 101 Squadron in 1975, Joe began a second spell with 230 OCU and, in June 1979, led the Trooping of the Colour Flypast over Buckingham Palace, a task he would repeat in the following three years.

Joe was a vastly experienced Vulcan pilot, with 6,102 hours on type. He was renowned as a display pilot, something which put him in demand for air displays and other ceremonies. He flew our own XL426 many times, including displaying ‘426 at 50 Squadron’s disbandment ceremony at the end of March 1984 which marked the withdrawal of the Vulcan from operational service. He also captained Vulcan XM655 for its delivery flight to Wellesbourne Mountford where she is now cared for by the 655 Maintenance & Preservation Society.

After leaving the RAF, Joe continued flying, holding a Private Pilot’s Licence for many years. He continued his connection with the Vulcan through his Honorary Membership of the Trust and was at XL426’s controls for taxy-runs at London Southend Airport on a number of occasions.

Joe was a thoroughly nice man who was always willing to share his memories of his career in the RAF, in particular his time on the Vulcan, with anyone who was keen to listen.

Rich

Richard Clarkson
Trustee - Vulcan Restoration Trust
Vulcan Restoration Trust
Preserving Vulcan XL426 at London Southend Airport
Registered Charity No 1058111
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VRT Southend Vulcan

Re: Joe L'Estrange - Vulcan Pilot

Postby nighthawk999 on Sun 21 Jan 2018, 5:13 pm

Blue skies Sir
nighthawk999

Re: Joe L'Estrange - Vulcan Pilot

Postby Xm657 on Sun 21 Jan 2018, 8:37 pm

I wonder if there is any footage out there of one his displays. I have read they were very special.
Xm657

Re: Joe L'Estrange - Vulcan Pilot

Postby st24 on Sun 21 Jan 2018, 8:59 pm

Sad news.
Xm657 wrote:I wonder if there is any footage out there of one his displays. I have read they were very special.



I'm pretty sure this is Jo - Greenham Embassy Air Tattoo '74...
You caaan't trust the system... Maaan!
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st24

Re: Joe L'Estrange - Vulcan Pilot

Postby sithrity on Sun 21 Jan 2018, 10:00 pm

Xm657 wrote:I wonder if there is any footage out there of one his displays. I have read they were very special.


This seems to be.
I don't know everything there is to know about our hobby.

Kids, aviation, missus then responsibilities, (in that order)
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sithrity

Re: Joe L'Estrange - Vulcan Pilot

Postby yakdave on Fri 26 Jan 2018, 8:55 pm

Sad News, I remember Joe giving us a very entertaining lecture on the Vulcan in the 70s to the RAF WYTON Aviation Club.....RIP Sir
yakdave

Re: Joe L'Estrange - Vulcan Pilot

Postby VRT Southend Vulcan on Sun 28 Jan 2018, 2:00 pm

Hi All

This is to let you know that Joe L'Estrange's funeral mass will take place on Friday 16th February at 12 noon at Our Lady of Good Council Church in Jermyn Street, Sleaford, Lincs. followed by Surfleet Crematorium at 2.00 pm.

His family has informed us that anyone wanting to make a donation in Joe’s memory can do so via the Co-Operative Funeral Directors, Duke Street, Sleaford NG34 7DX, with cheques payable to either "Marie Curie" or "St Barnabas at Home".

Joe was 91 when he passed away.

Rich

Richard Clarkson
Trustee
Vulcan Restoration Trust
Preserving Vulcan XL426 at London Southend Airport
Registered Charity No 1058111
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VRT Southend Vulcan


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