My name is Norman, and this is a blog that rotates around aviation, the Airline world and anything related that interests me. I am a pilot (Captain) currently flying the Boeing 777 for a major UK carrier.
I consider myself to be a lucky man, I seldom regard flying as ‘work’. Scheduled long haul operations worldwide have shown me vast continental and oceanic tracts that cover our beautiful planet; a privilege that I do not take for granted.
I am fortunate again to have lived and flown through a remarkable era in aviation, working in areas as diverse as Africa, the Middle and Far East and Europe in the early days before ’settling down’ to a more conventional flying life in the UK.
I started out in my youth gliding and progressed to powered flight with an RAF flying scholarship provided by the Sir Philip Sassoon Flying Award scheme. My original goal was to fly with the RAF but that was scotched by my being too tall to eject from the training and fighter aircraft then on the inventory.
An alternative route into the air was identified for me by a flying club instructor and after a couple of summers accumilating experience (glider towing with a Tiger Moth) I became a flying instructor. The lean pickings of that profession eventually forces most of us to move on, so it was onward and upward for me toward a commercial license and instrument rating.
My first truly commercial job (1977) was with The Rothmans Aerobatic Team. Our tours took us across the world advertising cigarettes (not fashionable these days) with the four Pitts S2A’s supported by an Islander. My role was to fly the Islander, an aircraft we used to carry our engineers, spares and baggage. We used this ‘mother hen’ in many ways other than just leading the combined formation of five S2a Pitts Specials during our transits between displays. I also flew the Pitts and was formation trained into the ‘2 slot.’
Rothmans withdrew sponsorship after two and a half very happy years and the team folded never to return. Still, nothing that good lasts forever but my next job was all I could have hoped for.
The Royal Oman Police Air Wing (1980). With the DHC 5 Buffalo, the Pilatus Turbo-Porter and the Lear 35 I flew in support of the Police, Royal Guard Regiment and Government departments across the Middle East and elsewhere. The flying in the Oman was exquisite with unimaginable freedom of action. The work was fascinating and the terrain breathtaking. Overuse of adjectives? – not if you have been there I can assure you, I miss the place and the flying still.
Sanity returned in the eighties and I came home to the UK to join the airlines where I have been ever since. I started out flying IT charter for Monarch and Orion (Orion later merging with Britannia) and during 1989 moved on to scheduled operations with my present employer. The past eighteen years have vanished in quick time.
So much has changed since even the early eighties when we considered ourselves ‘connected’ if we took a short wave radio away with us on trips to listen to the BBC World service; I laugh at myself when I get mildly irritated at the lack of broadband access or satellite TV in a down-route hotel. Things change and in this case at least, for the better.
I find blogs a little beguiling, are they are a form of vanity publishing? Perhaps they are but we all seem to agree that they are fun to do and mostly worth the effort, for as long as I enjoy the process, I will blog.
If you feel inclined please add your thoughts as comments, your effort will enrich our shared experience and give me a better impression of what works and what doesn’t. Get stuck in, you won’t offend.
Thanks for visiting,