Hi all

Christopher Stainbank Staniland was a pre-war RAF pilot and racing driver who became a test pilot with Simmonds Aircraft around early 1929 (he transferred to the RAFO in March 1929).

He moved on to Fairey Aviation in a similar role a year or so later, and subsequently became their Chief Test Pilot (around late 1931). He remained with Fairey until his death in a flying accident in June 1942.

I have good coverage of Staniland's RAF and racing career, but I am struggling to pin down exact dates of his test pilot career, beyond vague references to dates. Specifically, I am trying to establish when he:

  • joined Simmonds in 1929 (definitely there by July 1929) and left (1930/31);
  • joined Fairey as a test pilot in 1930/31 (definitely there by March 1931);
  • became Chief Test Pilot with Fairey (definitely by September 1931)

I have gone through the Flight archive and the Times for the period, and a broad search of the internet, including Google Books and available docs/books available on the Internet Archive, but I can find nothing precise.

Does anyone know if there is an archive for Simmonds (Spartan) and/or Fairey or does anyone have a resource available with info on Staniland?

Lastly, although originally an RAF pilot who retained his rank - and listed on the CWGC site - he was a civilian at the time of his death in a Fairey Firefly in June 1942. Although not surprised there is no AIR 81 file for him in TNA, I did expect to find an AVIA air accident file for him, but I cannot find one in the NA catalogue. Does anyone have any ideas?

Thanks
Steve