Norman Macmillan (RAF officer)

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Norman Macmillan
Born (1892-08-09)9 August 1892
Glasgow, Scotland
Died 5 August 1976(1976-08-05) (aged 83)
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Flying Corps
Royal Air Force
Rank Wing Commander
Awards Officer of the Order of the British Empire, Military Cross, Air Force Cross
Other work Deputy Lieutenant and author

Wing Commander Norman Macmillan, OBE, MC, AFC, DL (9 August 1892 – 5 August 1976)[1] born Glasgow, Scotland was a pilot and author.

Military service[edit]

He served during World War I on the Western Front in 1917–18 with the RFC and RAF, flying Sopwith 1½ Strutter and Sopwith Camel aircraft, becoming an ace by claiming eleven victories and being credited with nine. He would write about these experiences in his book Into the Blue.

He was decorated with the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in 1918.[2] He was also awarded the Air Force Cross.

Civilian life[edit]

After World War I, he, Major W.T. Blake and Geoffrey Mallins made an unsuccessful attempt to fly one leg of a Daily News sponsored round the world flight in Fairey IIIC G-EBDI.[3]

He took part in the 1923 Lympne light aircraft trials, demonstrating the Parnall Pixie aircraft.[4] During the early 1920s, Macmillan, like several others acted as free-lance test pilots, unattached to particular companies.[5] He took five Parnall aircraft on their first flights.[6]

He flew Fairey aircraft from 1921 as a free-lance,[7] joining them full-time early in 1925 as chief test pilot[5] and staying with them until the end of 1930. He then became chief consultant test pilot to Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft.[8]

In 1925 he was the first to land (an emergency landing) at Heathrow, which then was a row of cottages in land used for market gardening.

He wrote numerous books on aviation, including a series detailing history of the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. Despite being partly written during the war they are remarkably detailed and accurate.

He remained attached to the army, before transferring to the air force in 1946.

He became a Deputy Lieutenant for Cornwall in September 1951.[9]

According to his obituary which was published in The Times newspaper on Wednesday 11 August 1976, he made the first flight London to Sweden in one day.


  • 1928: The Art of Flying
  • 1929: Into the Blue ISBN 0-405-03773-2
  • 1929: The Air Travellers' Guide to Europe
  • 1931: An Hour of Aviation
  • 1935: The Romance of Flight
  • 1935: Sir Sefton Brancker
  • 1936: The Romance of Modern Exploration and Discovery
  • 1937: Freelance Pilot
  • 1938: The Chosen Instrument
  • 1939: How We Fly (Edited)
  • 1941: Best Flying Stories (Edited)
  • 1942: The Air Cadet's Handbook on How to Pilot an Aeroplane
  • 1942: The Pilot's Book on Advanced Flying
  • 1942: Royal Air Force in the World War, Volume 1 1919–1940 ; Aftermath of War, Prelude to the Blitzkrieg, the Campaign in Norway
  • 1944: Royal Air Force in the World War, Volume 2 1940–1941 ; The Battles of Holland, Belgium and France, the Battle of Britain
  • 1949: Royal Air Force in the World War, Volume 3 1940–1945 ; The Battles of North Africa, Mediterranean, Sicily, Italy, Middle East and Eastern Africa
  • 1950: Royal Air Force in the World War, Volume 4 1940–1945 ; The Bomber Offensive, the Battle of the Atlantic, Battles in Europe 1944, Battles in the Far East
  • 1950: Where Shall We Go? (Edited)
  • 1955: Great Airman
  • 1960: Great Aircraft
  • 1963: Tales of Two Air Wars
  • 1964: Great Flights and Air Adventures, From Balloons to Spacecraft
  • 1967: Wings of Fate – Strange True Tales of the Vintage Flying Days ISBN 0-7135-0692-X
  • 1973: Offensive Patrol: The Story of the RNAS, RFC and RAF in Italy, 1917–18 ISBN 0-09-116180-0



  • Taylor, H.O. (1974). Fairey Aircraft since 1915. London: Putnam Publishing. ISBN 0-370-00065-X. 
  • Wixey, Kenneth (1990). Parnall Aircraft since 1914. Annopolis: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-930-1. 

External links[edit]