Dave Unwin – The Man Behind the Controls

If you’ve been following us on social media, you may have noticed that we post quite a few pictures of a certain pilot flying some amazing aircraft and always wearing his Randolph Aviators. Now to meet the man behind the controls- His name is Dave Unwin, and with over 30 years of solo flying experience, he’s covered a lot of ground.

Dave Unwin favors Randolph Aviators for flying because of “their quality, robustness, comfort, excellent optics, and the fact that they look great!”

Dave Unwin favors Randolph Aviators for flying because of “their quality, robustness, comfort, excellent optics, and the fact that they look great!”

His adoration for vintage and rare aircraft lies in their quirk and charm. As Dave puts it, “The attraction is hard to explain and impossible to resist.” (photograph by Keith Wilson)

His adoration for vintage and rare aircraft lies in their quirk and charm. As Dave puts it, “The attraction is hard to explain and impossible to resist.” (photograph by Keith Wilson)

Love at First Flight

Dave can’t remember a time he wasn’t interested in flying. As a small child, he recalls always looking up at the clouds. In 1973, when he was 13 years old, he finally had the chance to fly his first plane which was a Slingsby T.21 Sedbergh- an open-cockpit, side-by-side two-seat glider. Since then, Dave has gone on to fly some 300 types of aircraft ranging from 1920’s biplanes to supersonic fighter-bombers, sailplanes, seaplanes, skiplanes, prototypes, and even a flying car! The standing record for having flown the most different types of aircraft is still held by Dave’s greatest influence and friend in the Aviation world, the late Captain Eric “Winkle” Brown. As a British Royal Navy officer and test pilot, Captain Brown flew over 487 different types of aircraft.

Taking Off

When asked if he flies every day, Dave says, “I wish!” However, he gets in the cockpit as often as he can. He instructs and flies the tow planes at his local gliding club and is famously Pilot Magazine’s Flight Test Editor. His face has appeared on the cover of many a magazine (last he checked it was somewhere in the hundreds) and circulated on every continent, except Antarctica, which Dave jokingly quips, “The distribution there is awful, plus as penguins can’t fly they’re not terribly interested!” In order to get these shots midair, it takes a lot of planning and know-how, which can be stressful, but in the end, rewarding when the shoot goes well.

Dave’s son, Will, wearing his dad’s Randolph Aviators midflight. Looking great, Will!

Dave’s son, Will, wearing his dad’s Randolph Aviators midflight. Looking great, Will!

Blue Skies Ahead

Aviation is a family affair for Dave. His wife is a sailplane pilot and his two sons, ages 8 and 11, are also getting into the game. They often fly with him in the various aircraft he pilots and he always lets them take the controls once they’re in the air. Dave’s personal plane, which he flies at least once or twice a week, is a Jodel D9 named Buzz and is located on a farm strip about ten minutes from his house in Lincolnshire, England. We look forward to seeing Dave Unwin piloting the next remarkable aircraft, so be sure to follow us on social media to continue to see pictures of him behind the controls of some very unique aircraft.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Randolph Engineering and not of individuals or other corporations. Statements are limited to opinions by Randolph Engineering and not endorsements by others.