MALCOLM TURNER

Some of Malcolm Turner’s earliest memories are of BOAC flights arriving at London Airport. His father was a BOAC pilot (Britannia and VC10). His parents met when they were working for BOAC at Whitchurch, Bristol in 1945. Malcolm lived in Filton, Bristol until the age of four and can just remember seeing the mighty but uncommercial Bristol Brabazon.

     His sister was BOAC cabin crew for many years, as was his cousin, along with one of his aunts who was a stewardess on Stratocruisers. His uncle joined Imperial Airways in 1938 and later became BOAC’s Personnel Director.

      Malcolm joined BOAC in 1970, initially in air cargo at Heathrow and later in reservations at the Victoria Air Terminal. He left at the time of the merger with BEA in 1974.

      He is the author of The Honourable Member (2017)

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JAMES CARLTON

James Carlton is the ‘nom de plume’ of a leading British aerospace engineer currently working in Toulouse. He has long been fascinated by the Comet story and its extraordinary achievements mixed with tragedy and heartbreak. He has painstakingly researched the history of the de Havilland Comet and made new discoveries about the technical flaws which caused the early accidents.

JAMES CARLTON

James Carlton is the ‘nom de plume’ of a leading British aerospace engineer currently working in Toulouse. He has long been fascinated by the Comet story and its extraordinary achievements mixed with tragedy and heartbreak. He has painstakingly researched the history of the de Havilland Comet and made new discoveries about the technical flaws which caused the early accidents.

 

ALEXANDER CLIFTON

Alexander Clifton first crossed the Atlantic aboard a Lockheed Constellation in the 1950s. He never lost his love for this graceful, elegant airliner which became one of the most successful commercial and military aircraft of the pre-jet age.

     In this remarkable homage he has traced the history of the ever-popular Connie from its birth, right up to the handful of preserved Constellations which fly to this day.

 

PETER PIGOTT

Peter Pigott is Canada's foremost aviation author. Among his accomplishments are the histories of Air Canada, Trans Canada Airlines, and Canadian Airlines. He is the author of From Far and Wide, Sailing Seven Seas, Canada in Sudan and many more books. He lives in Ottawa.

 

PHILIP HOGGE

Philip Hogge learned to fly in 1959, joining BOAC in 1962 where he worked as a line pilot and navigator and as an instructor, flying on Britannias, VC10s, 707s and 747s. He was Flight Training Manager on 707s and then 747s, before becoming Chief Pilot 747s, and finally GM Flight Operational Services in British Airways flight operations department.

    “This collection of short stories comes from my abiding love of aviation. It all began when, aged eight or nine, I discovered aeroplanes. A light aircraft, an Auster I think, made a forced landing in a field near where we lived in Devon – that must have been somewhere around 1950. I was enthralled. Like so many pilots, I started by building model aircraft made of balsa and tissue paper, powered by elastic bands and small diesel engines. This was followed by a gliding course with the Air Cadets in 1958 and an RAF Flying Scholarship while still at school. During one rapturous summer holiday in 1959, Yvonne Pope taught me to fly a Tiger Moth and I gained my Private Pilot’s Licence.

    “Looking back after all these years, I know I owe her so much. She was a kindly, dedicated instructor who demanded high standards, instilling the right attitude of mind. Flying is fun – but – you must treat it with the greatest of respect and care, if you don’t, it will turn round and bite you!

    “Airline flying in the 1960s was not as it is now. There was still an element of glamour, adventure and excitement. I was lucky enough to start with BOAC on the Britannia 312, seeing the last of the propeller operations across the North Atlantic. In 1964, I converted to the VC10 and from there progressed (or was it regressed?) to the Boeing 707 and finally to the mighty 747.

    “Throughout that time, I remained dedicated to the cause of flight safety, good airmanship and helping others achieve the same. And I know it was Yvonne who pointed me in that direction. A few years ago, I tried to write some memoirs, but stopped because I did not want to break confidences or embarrass old colleagues. Instead, I felt short stories would capture better the ambiance of those times. The first piece below is factual, the rest are all fictional stories, but based on things I've either done, known about, read about or have adapted from other people's tall stories. Most are amalgams of various characters I have known – suitably disguised. I hope they evoke the airline world I knew from the 1960s to ‘90s.”

 

JEFF GRAY

Charles Jeffrey Gray intended to join the army but changed his mind when a recruiting officer suggested the RAF. Following pilot training in the United States, he won the Distinguished Flying Medal and completed a tour of 30 missions over occupied Europe in command of a Lancaster bomber. After the war he joined BOAC and flew the Avro York, Handley Page Hermes, Boeing Stratocruiser, de Havilland Comet and Vickers VC10 on which he became an instructor and examiner. Upon retiring from British Airways, he joined the nascent Gulf Air as a senior pilot and instructor on the VC10 and, later, the TriStar.

 

PETER DUFFEY

Peter Duffey is the only pilot to have flown the Comet 1, Comet 4 and Concorde. He also flew a host of other military and civil aircraft ranging from the de Havilland DH.89 Dragon Rapide through to the Consolidated B-24 Liberator and the Boeing 707.

 

In this unique memoir he records not only the challenges of flying such varied and different machines, but also the remarkable people he met and events he witnessed in his long career. His love of aircraft began with childhood sightings of the R101 Airship and Short Mayo composite flying boats. His first flight was aboard a de Havilland Fox Moth and he crossed the English Channel with his family on a four-engined de Havilland biplane. As an ATC cadet his familiarisation flight on a Vickers Wellington had to be diverted when the Luftwaffe attacked the aircraft’s home base. He joined the RAF in 1943 and was trained on the Tiger Moth, Fairchild Cornell and Airspeed Oxford. He was later trained to fly anti-submarine patrols in the B-24 Liberators of RAF Coastal Command.

 

After the war he flew for Portsmouth Aviation, then Scottish Airlines and later British South American Airways. In 1949, BSAA merged with BOAC and Duffey transferred to BOAC as a co-pilot, initially on the Argonaut and later the Comet 1. When the Comets were grounded, following a spate of accidents, he flew Argonauts and Stratocruisers before moving to the DC-7C on which he obtained his first command. He later flew the much-improved Comet 4 and became a training captain. In 1965, with the retirement of the Comets, he became a training captain on the Boeing 707, and in 1975 he was one of British Airways’ first six Concorde training captains.

 

He retired in 1980 and emigrated, with his wife, to Canada where he requalified as a flying instructor and executive jet pilot.

 

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