Air and Sea

15th December 2008, 19:54
Having got a pilot's licence when I was in my 50's I found that the flying fraternity has much in common with the seafaring fraternity.. After all, drift and leeway and coping with bad weather are comon to both the air and the sea.
After the end of WW2, Cunard fromed an airline - Cunard Eagle Airways.
Brocklebanks were owned by them and a letter was sent to all deck officers asking if they would like to be retrained as pilots. What do you think ?
EVERYONE said YES and the scheme was dropped like a hot potato.

17th December 2008, 21:55
Good to know there are a few other seafarers out there with PPLs. as you may tell from the name. I use a Piper Cub to get about the uk and europe although last year i found a faster 4 seat machine, a bellanca cruisemaster.
travelling at 135kts takes a bit of getting used to compared to 15kts but in those days I was down below producing the means to go at 15kts!
I have always been keen on mapreading and so subject myself to competing in Precision Flying and Rally Flying competitions. Good fun and a great way to hone your vfr navigation skills.
No doubt as in aviation GPS has made a huge difference in marine navigation, progress i suppose but what of the tradition of the noon sight.
Pm if you want info on precision flying

18th December 2008, 14:14
Good to hear from fellow seafarers/pilots.! got my licence on my 50th birthday and am still flying today at 69.There is definate connection between these occupations.


18th December 2008, 15:27
Great to hear from fellow aviators/ navigators ! I am now 82 so have given up.. However I was very fortunate in being friends with both the flying school proprietor in Manchester and in the examiner.. Both became training pilots in Britannia and have now retired after a fashion, having reached 60. One flies for Eastern airlines - turbo props about UK and continent, the other for some Scottish sirline - 737s to Meddy etc. Can't keep them out of the sky.
After getting my PPL I had a little job with one of their air taxis - Navajo Chieftain - 8 seater. I made and served the coffee and was allowed to fly it if there were no passengers.. Even landed at Heathrow under supervision. I also used to have trips to meddy inthe jump seat of their 737s. One called on us yesterday - lives partly in France and partly in Chester. He has a single engined Bolkow and a twin Comanche.
They tell me the aviation industry is suffering now and pilots are losing their jobs. It was always a feast or a famine as far as I could see !
Happy flying !
PS Last time i did my 5 hours was in NZ where I was supervising a yacht refit.
Marvellous flying country - very little traffic and lovely weather. Fellow Rotarian's son has just done a commercial licence at a school in Hamilton NZ.

18th December 2008, 17:45
Eastern has a marine connection, the boss was at sea with me before he saw sense and started in business

18th December 2008, 23:15
It's great to see a firm sea/air connection here. I'm learning to fly at the age of 65 (there's no age limit, just as long as you can pass the medical) and enjoying every minute of it. Presently training on PA-38's, cubpilot I've a friend who owns a cub and had a couple of very pleasant flights with him this year.

18th December 2008, 23:23
cubpilot, found a pic.

19th December 2008, 11:08
a proper plane! They may be slow but i have been as far afield as Helsinki, Krakow, Budapest or Shannon to the west.
my "New" machine is a 50 year old Bellanca Cruisemaster. twice as fast and similar mpg. so far the longest trip has been to ried in austria. a tad over 5 hours flight time from sw uk. not sure how to post pics but there are plenty of pics on the internet. N7600E.

19th December 2008, 11:25
Hi cubpilot,
Your 'new' plane looks great, found a link on the web: as I didn't like to post one that I didn't have permission to do.
Here's some I've been learning in, (again pics on web) G-BXET, G-BRLP, G-BNHG and G-BXZA.
Happy Flying

19th December 2008, 13:55
cubpilot, found a pic.

Nice to see that you haven't changed a bit since your time at sea.....(Jester)

19th December 2008, 14:16
[QUOTE=sidsal;273605]Having got a pilot's licence when I was in my 50's I found that the flying fraternity has much in common with the seafaring fraternity.. After all, drift and leeway and coping with bad weather are comon to both the air and the sea.

Quite agree with you, after getting 2nd Mate's I joined the Fleet Air Arm. Best of both worlds! One squadron I was on had enough tickets to man a merchant ship (one master, one mate and two second Mates). After 16 years I went into civvy aviation - North Sea rigs etc, spent some time based off shore and had many happy yarns with barge masters/ mates/ engineers/ ex RN aircraft handlers/ R.O.s etc. Then spent time flying Coastguard SAR out of Stornoway. Now retired and spend many happy hours reading sea/aviation magazines and websites (including SN naturally!)

19th December 2008, 14:31
What an amazing career you've had ! When you think of the boring lives so many have these days - such as being stuck behind a computer screen in a call centre - your career seems heaven.
In our old Conway Club's book there is one chap who had his masters ticket and became a 747 pilot. Must have been brainy - and determined. I thought I had had a fairly interesting career bit it pales into nothing compared with your.
Best wishes

19th December 2008, 16:25
Sailed with an A.B. once who had been a pilot in the RAF. A very interesting man to share a watch with, he was also a lay preacher.. He had been at
sea during the depression in the thirties. Rather than remain unemployed he joined the RAF. He was stationed in Egypt when Mussolini and Hitler were starting to rattle their sabres and the Air Ministry decided more pilots were needed. He applied and was accepted under the scheme. Men from the ranks would be trained and qualified and then revert to their previous rank and duties or they had the option to remain as sergeant pilots but were discharged after two years. (money for defence was tight) He opted to continue as a pilot and was discharged after his two years were up. He was flying De Haviland Rapides between the Northern Isles and mainland when the war broke out. Being in the reserve he was called up and ended up as a flying instructor. He told me, before the war he was stationed outside Manchester at one time, flying Vickers Vimy's. He took off with a pal one day on a training flight, bad weather forced them to land at Biggin Hill where a party was in progress in the sergeant's mess. The weather cleared and his co-pilot was anxious to get back to Manchester as he had a date that evening. The pair took off and it was the practice in these dual control planes to put the plan in a dive and let the other guy sort it out. Unfortunately when this happened to him, his senses being slightly dulled by the beer he'd consumned they were rather close to a crop of trees below before he realised it was his turn at the controls. They brushed the top of the trees but noticed there was a quantity of twigs and greenery entwined in the
wing struts etc. When they landed back at base they jumped out and quickly removed the evidence of their tree encounter before taxiing towards the
hanger area. They jumped out and reported to the duty officer who seemed to be engrossed in staring at the underside of the fuselage below the cockpit.
He walked over, touched the drip with his finger and raised this with a look of disgust to his nose. The Vimy had an open cockpit and one of the pilots, not him he claimed, had urinated directly inside. This chap blamed this escapade on the fact that his application for a commision was not accepted. Sorry it was a long tale, but I thought it might be of interest. He no longer indulged in beer swilling when I sailed with him in the fifties. He was a good shipmate.

19th December 2008, 16:41
Hitting cows not recommended!!

19th December 2008, 19:49
When I was flying as a PPL from Manchester in the 1970s there was a lovely chap who had a small textile business and who had a PPL. He was known to the air Traffic Controllers because of his quirky nature. When he was coming or going from MCR the control tower would put the radio traffic with him on speakers so that they all could listen to him.
I was told by a controller of a typical occasion where he was returneing from Blackpool with his young children on the back seat of the Cherokee. As he approached Barton he called up the MCR control and said - "This is Golf Alpha Xray....SHUT UP IN THE BACK THERE - sorry - the kids won't shut up" And so it went on until he was passed to the tower who said to him - "You are No2 to an Aer Lingus on finals, report him in sight "
He replied " I have the Trident in sight"
The Aer Lingus pilot butted in and said " Suggest you brush up on your aircraft recogntion - we are a Boeing 737"
He replied -"Shut up you Irish lepracaun"
Both pilots were summoned to the tower and given a telling off "

19th December 2008, 19:53
I was quite an inexperienced pilot and once hired a Cessna 150 and took a friend who wanted to photograph his house from the air.
Having started the engine I opened the throttle to taxi but it wouldn't move forward. I switched the engine off and alighted to find that there was a big lump of concrete tied to the tail to keep it from being blown about in the wind !

19th December 2008, 20:44
RAF Bicester is now a private airfield and home to a gliding club. It has a large sign advertising sample glider lessons and "Learn to fly packages". My wife and I assume that means becoming a freight pilot for DHL or FedEx.


Andy Lavies
19th December 2008, 21:10
Lots of sailors fly and flyers sail. I got a PPL while up for Mates in 1962. Students licence was for "Flying Machines, Balloons and Airships." Later had multi-engine and IMC ratings as well as gliding certificates. Flew the Sea Tiger (Tiger Moth on floats) at Lee-on-Solent in the mid 60's. Marriage, kids and mortgage put a stop to it for some years but I did most of it again in the 80's and 90's at Bournemouth. Now I just fly my computer and have almost every flightsim since Nite Flite 1 for Specrtum about 25 years ago.

20th December 2008, 12:49
In our old Conway Club's book there is one chap who had his masters ticket and became a 747 pilot. Must have been brainy - and determined. I thought I had had a fairly interesting career bit it pales into nothing compared with your.
Best wishes

I'm also an OC!
One of my jobs in civvy street was working for the Northern Lighthouse Board doing the keeper change-overs (before the lights were automated). This sometimes involved working from the Tender 'Pole Star', one day off Canna I was tasked to undersling the gas bottles to the remote light. I asked the Mate if the shore party were ready to be flown ashore. With a twinkle in his eye he said "Well, with the Third Mate doing Helicopter Safety Officer, and an ex-Third Mate flying the helicopter, they've decided they'd rather go in the work boat with the bosun!!"
Will I see you at the Conway 150th celebrations in Liverpool next year?

30th December 2008, 13:10
Once I swallowed the anchor and came ashore, I ended up in ATC with the Department of Aviation in Oz. The crazy stories one comes across are very similar in both industries. There must be a common denominator there somewhere.

We had a local pilot who flew out late evening, every weekday, on a freight run for the banks, and returned at precicesly 4.00 am. His initial call to the tower on return was always the same. Without any preamble or identification, he would just say "Guess who".

One particular morning, and after a heavy social evening, the controller wasn't really in the mood for funnies, so when the returning pilot came up with his usual "Guess who", the controller reached across the console and flicked the switch to turn off all the aerodrome lights, picked up the mic and said "GUESS WHERE"


13th February 2009, 09:19
The jobs are very similar. I left the sea in 2001, after sailing as a Master on High Speed Ferries, I now fly an Airbus with Easyjet. Not much difference really: late passengers, weather problems, tech issues....