A war veteran, dubbed Britain’s greatest ever pilot, was reunited with the German plane he flew during the Second World War.
Captain Eric Brown CBE (96) visited the National Museum of Flight at East Fortune as part of a £3.6 million redevelopment of two hangars.
The new visitor attractions will feature digital displays showing archive footage and interviews explorsing the history, technology and personal stories behind each aircraft.
Captain Brown, a former Royal Navy test pilot, was reunited with the Messerschmitt Me 163B-1a Komet. He flew the infamous German aircraft on June 10, 1945, after capturing it at Husum, Schleswig Holstein, at the end of the war.
Under instructions from the Prime Minister Winston Churchill – who wanted to learn as much as possible about Germany’s technological weapons - Captain Brown was part of a mission to travel to Germany, test rocket aircraft and bring them back to Britain.
Following its capture at Husum, the National Museum of Flight’s Komet went to the College of Aeronautics at Cranfield in 1947. It was later refurbished and eventually donated to the Museum by Cranfield University.
An interview with Captain Brown will be displayed on an interactive digital touch-screen alongside it when the redeveloped hangars open in spring 2016.
Born in Leith and now living in Sussex, Captain Brown is the Navy’s most decorated pilot, and has flown 487 different types of aircraft - more than anyone else in history.#
He interrogated Hermann Göring and was he one of the first British servicemen to arrive at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
Captain Brown said: “I was pleased to have the opportunity to see the Komet again, 70 years after I flew it.
“I was very determined to fly this rocket aircraft back in 1945 because to me it was the most exciting thing on the horizon, a totally new experience.
“I remember watching the ground crew very carefully before take-off, wondering if they thought they were waving goodbye to me forever or whether they thought this thing was going to return.
“The noise it made was absolutely thunderous, and it was like being in charge of a runaway train, everything changed so rapidly and I really had to have my wits about me.
“I had been used to the top fighters in the game with rates of climb of about 3,000 feet per minute, but this thing climbed at 16,000 feet per minute.”