I'm part-way through this well written and fascinating biography which has just been published (June 2011) and it's so good that I recommend it even before I reach the end:
The Wind Beneath my Wings - John Hutchinson, Concorde Pilot
by Susan Ottaway. (ISBN: 978-0-9562176-2-2)
Although best known as a senior BA Concorde captain, John Hutchinson started his flying career in the RAF. He served from 1955-1963 (Harvard training in Canada, Shackleton pilot in Singapore, QFI/IRE) and was a corporate pilot for three years before joining BOAC in 1966. He was, successively, a 707 and 747 co-pilot and then a captain on the VC10 before being selected to be a Concorde captain.
He remained on the Concorde fleet until retirement, and was a Route Check Captain. The magnificent supersonic airliner was the love of his aviation life and Concorde fans (like me) will find the tales from the sharp end interesting, informative and enjoyable.
Those who have the privilege of knowing John 'Hutch' won't be surprised by his own description of his distinguished career: "I have never worked in my life. I've been paid to enjoy my hobby in the company of some of the finest people I have ever met - my fellow aircrew."
His very interesting life hasn't been all happiness. He's experienced tragedy and great sadness, and some genuinely 'near death' experiences - not only in aviation. I don't exaggerate. Just two examples:
In 1968, after only about 18 months with BOAC, he was Second Officer on BOAC Flight 712
in which five people died at Heathrow.
In 1984, John, his wife and two friends were captured and held captive by pirates while on a sailing holiday in the Caribbean. I won't go into detail here, but what was done to John and to his wife before they managed to overpower their evil captors makes harrowing reading.
John has always given back to the profession that gave him so much pleasure and his contributions to aviation over many years were recognised in 1999 when he was elected Master of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators
. He remains an active, highly respected and very popular 'Past Master' of GAPAN.
A great airman, who has flown more than 70 types, he is now happy flying the Auster Aiglet in which he bought a share shortly before he retired. Having spent 15 years flying at 23 miles per minute, he describes being overtaken by family cars on the motorway below as 'rather humbling'.
Retiring from professional flying hasn't meant slowing down in any other sense - he is much in demand internationally as an aviation consultant, expert witness, broadcaster and speaker.
In his Foreword, former BOAC captain Lord Tebbit describes the book as a 'must read' for anyone interested in aviation, Concorde and the history and times of the second half of the twentieth century.
Very highly recommended.