View Full Version : What started your Aviation interest/career?

12th Dec 2004, 04:12
Father pointing out a high flying aircraft at Bellevue Zoo in Manchester....Flying in a BOAC Stratocruiser trans-atlantic... Visits on the weekends to Dorval's viewing balcony was a treat.... plowing through 4 foot of snow to the airport fence in Feb to watch B707s and DC8 landing and being able to id both and explain why.... and it continued on...

12th Dec 2004, 04:37
I'll have to pass on the catalyst that kicked me off. I came from a shipping family but apparently was drawing aircraft from the day I got my first set of crayons. It never went..


12th Dec 2004, 05:10
My mom told me : "I' ll never put my back in something not on the ground !"... that was enough for me to get hooked...

12th Dec 2004, 05:33
When I was about 5 years old, my Father took me up in a Tiger Moth. I could barely see over the rim of the cockpit but I loved it and was hooked.
I wish I could get to fly that Tiger now!

None of the above
12th Dec 2004, 09:27
The stream of trans-Atlantics wending their way to Garston (Bovingdon hadn't yet been invented) in the late 1960s which included B707s of BOAC, TWA and Pan-Am. Then of course the stretched DC-8s of Air Canada and, if memory serves correctly, Seaboard World Airways. There seemed to be a never ending supply of Vanguards and Viscounts on domestic routes (before the Trident took over) and, in its twilight years, the Britannia from Newcastle to Heathrow. I think it was G-ANBK of BKS, but will happily stand corrected. Others that spring to mind are the BEA Argosy freighters and Comets, together with the British Eagle B707s that managed to get a toe hold in the trans-Atlantic market shortly before the firm folded.

Edited to add:

I now live only about a mile from my childhood home and still glance up at the sound of passing aircraft. I have some difficulty distinguishing one Airbus from another (except the 340) but the Air NZ B747 en-route to the US West Coast (SFO or LAX?) is a sight worth seeing especially on a hot summer's afternoon as it heads for WOBUN. The Bovingdon Hold is always worth more than the occasional glance and I shall probably walk into a hole in the road as a consequence of my gaze being permanently at least twenty degrees above the horizontal!

12th Dec 2004, 09:33
The unadulterated glamour.

12th Dec 2004, 10:44
Probably the F-27s that flew over my parentīs house approaching LFSB, and me being able to watch them from my room.

12th Dec 2004, 11:09
Dad took me to a local show which had low level noisy passes from a Vulcan and a Buccaneer, that was it - hooked

12th Dec 2004, 11:14
Both my parents were aviation-minded. My dad did aviation patent work much of his life. My mum spent probably a week's pay for a short flight in a Jenny way back when and went as far as ground school while my dad did patent work for Sherman Fairchild in the 1920s. There was apparently [idle] talk of doing a home-built before I came along.

As a spoiled brat used to get my parents to take me to Hoover Field (which was replaced by Washington National Airport) to see the planes. I can remember being proud to be able to identify the DC-2, while there must have been far more exotic types I don't remember.

When I was 13 my father's boss's son and I rode our bikes out to a local airfield and begged a ride in a Cub.

My time in the Air Force right out of uni was as an electronics R&D officer. I flipped the heading switches testing our ground-to-air data link while it was coupled to our B-25's autopilot. The pilots complained when I switched the 180-degree switch too often! Ah, youth.

12th Dec 2004, 12:08
As a boy in the 1950`s and early 1960`s I was part of the Airfix generation.....sadly most of the kits I was given were badly put together. You could buy a series one model (eg Spitfire) for 2 shillings. Other influences were the biographies of the WW2 aces being published then, and TV, notably Raymond Baxter and his commentaries of the Farnborough air shows.

My very first flight, in a Heron, from Gatwick (newly opened) to Guernsey is a long lasting memory, as was being allowed to climb into and sit for a while in the cockpit of the prototype Mosquito.

None of the Above: Yes, Seaboard World...I only remember them when you and I were working together at Heathrow. Can`t remember the reg of the BKS Britannias, but the Corgi model that sits on my desk is GAPLL. Remember Sagittair?

Buster Hyman
12th Dec 2004, 13:14
Probably the DC-4 trip down to Tassie as a kid, too young to remember, but must have left an impression on me.

Then the old lady got a job at AN. At one stage we had 4 family members working there. I too built the Airfix models & painted them up in all sorts of scemes.

Spent 26 years living under the YMEN flightpath & the rest under YMML!

12th Dec 2004, 13:40
Riding my bicycle to St Athans and watching the Vulcans do a stream departure from just off the end of the runway. The noise, the size, the beauty and scareyness of it all. Aaaah I remember it well.

12th Dec 2004, 13:45
When I was a little horror of 2 or 3 in the early sixties, my dad used to pick up people from India, as these folks had no wheels my dad would drive from Wolverhampton to Heathrow and pick them up, and took me with him (as my mom had to work). Unfortunately, as a result of inhaling too many fumes of spent jet fuel, and having being subjected to the upper decibel levels of 707's VC-10's, Comets and DC-8's, my mushy brain formed the wrong way.......as a result my life spiralled to one of being an airline pilot for Continental Airlines, and now myself, am spreading jet fumes and (not so) high decibels to the next generation............

12th Dec 2004, 14:05
Being dragged around one of the Qantas hangars in the late 60's by my scottish grandfather. :D

12th Dec 2004, 14:14
Air temperature at ground level in Phoenix summer is 40C. Temperature at 5000ft above ground in Phoenix summer is 25C. Quickest way there is leaky light aircraft.

12th Dec 2004, 14:17
1975, package holiday booked, I had to find out what we were flying on - a Dan-Air Comet. Spawned the interest. Alas, never went on that trip due to family tragedy and never had another chance of flying in a Comet. :{

12th Dec 2004, 16:29
Spending 5 years at school next door to Hamble airfield. Every Tuesday morning, the BE55s would depart, and with a northerly breeze, right over the school at 50ft. The wheels were still rotating from the ground run....brilliant!!!

So I got a job in ATC......

12th Dec 2004, 16:43
Being dragged around various control towers across Australia kinda had something to do with. I think my brother and I both agreed "Geezus, if the old man can do it, we can". ;)

12th Dec 2004, 19:15
Living under the approach to RAF Middleton St George and seeing the Hunters, Javelins and Lightnings pass over got me interested enough to join the Air Training Corps. Eventually, when South Durham's 25% unemployment rate forced me to follow local tradition and take the Queen's shilling, the Royal Air Force was the obvious choice. A good choice too, I like to think although back in the sixties and seventies, the RAF wasn't a comfortable home for a hippy pacifist like me. I was often in trouble with the authorities over my hair and certain lifestyle choices, but aeroplanes are fixed firmly in my blood and I was [and still are] a dedicated tradesman.

Solid Rust Twotter
12th Dec 2004, 19:25

Am you?

(note to self: - never possed pist!)

Always been interested in aviation. Dad used to drag me out to watch skydivers. Began jumping at an early age and gradually progressed to the civilised side of the sport. Natural progression from there....:ok:

12th Dec 2004, 20:46
I was a hanger over the fence at Renfrew and watched all the great airliners of the day....had to be part of it, so joined the ATC, and then I joined BEA, cos' the Silver Wing Fling Club offered Tuition to BEA employees for £4 (NOT a misprint) an hour, then gave me a bounty of £40 (£1200 at todays prices when I completed the PPL initially.

12th Dec 2004, 20:59
Seeing a Vulcan fly low over my house one grotty day.


12th Dec 2004, 23:02
Born with it


13th Dec 2004, 00:34
My father was a flying doctor in Wyndham, WA. in the late 50's. Lived my first couple of years being the flying doctors son. Aviation interest grew from there, and ended up becoming an ATC. One younger Brother and also a cousin are Qantas pilots, while rest of the family went into medicine. Makes for interesting conversation at family dinners.

13th Dec 2004, 12:17
Being born just off the approach to 06 at Southend, growing up with DC-3 and Bristol Freighters landing and taking off, then Viscounts, Carvairs and BAC 1--11s. Dad telling me stories of when he was painting the hangars at North Weald in 1940 and Mum talking about the Eagle Squadrons based at Southend and how she was bombed.

So being interested in aircraft was inevitable, but getting the PPL was a surprise.

Loki - you & I are the only people I know who have sat in the Mosquito prototype. I didn't realise at the time what an important event it was.

13th Dec 2004, 12:25
Dad was ex RAF airframe fitter 78 sqn during WW2.Uncle was a Vulcan pilot and ended up an Air Commodore.Both Mum's sisters worked at AV Roes at Woodford so used to go to Christmas parties saw Shackeltons and Vulcans being built and Santa arriving in an Anson.First flight to Guernsey from Speke in a Cambrian DC3 in 1959 allowed in cockpit.Grass runways.
ATC at school.Ended up joining Army as by then had glasses and didn't fancy ground crew in RAF,even though my Uncle saying it would be good.

13th Dec 2004, 21:35
When I was about 6, one dark night, something big noisy and full of lights, some flashing, most not, making a very low pass on its way to Newcastle Airport.
It made me lose a tooth on the banana I was eating at the time.


13th Dec 2004, 22:26
British Airways = "Daddy Air."

14th Dec 2004, 02:30
As a regular army brat, I was always being told by my Dad to join the Army cadets at school, so I joined the Air Training Corps! Never looked back - 22 years RAF, then twenty with Ansett, the best working life imaginable, though I'm somewhat suspicious that my father never forgave me for joining the "Brylcreem Boys"!!

Kind regards,


A10 Thundybox
14th Dec 2004, 03:54
Yep, born with this terrible disease, my folks don't give a toss for it, poor old man used to have to take me to the Queens Building to watch the planes as a nipper, bored out of his skull he was, I grew up at the end of 27L, must've been a factor but Mil jets low and fast make my stomach knot and my eyes green with envy

If only...aach well..

I think the rusty pigeon is going to get a thrashing this w/e.


14th Dec 2004, 04:32
Rows of scrapped P-40 Kittyhawks and F4-U Corsairs parked in the long grass.
PPL cost me 160 quid.

henry crun
14th Dec 2004, 06:38
Just think how rich you would be now if you had acquired a few of them and parked them in a barn for a few years. :)

14th Dec 2004, 14:11
Born wearing an anorak. Lost interest in trains when diesel replaced steam. Started going along to my local airport (Newcastle) instead. Not many spamcans around, still plenty of Tigers, Austers, Proctors and Geminis in among the Ambassadors, Daks and Bristol Freighters. I was just as interested in where they flew to and how on earth they made money (never more than 5 or 6 pax on Dan-Airís twice a week Kristiansand service) as ticking them off in the Ian Allen book.

Then I discovered that BOAC had a traineeship for A-level school-leavers that meant I didnít have to go to University, and that was it, my career was mapped out, getting paid for pursuing my hobby. 37 years and countingÖ

14th Dec 2004, 14:22
My parents upped sticks and moved to New Guinea following a Telecoms contract when I was one. Spent the next three years of my life in and out of Dakotas, F27s, C206s and all sorts of other rickety contraptions around Lae and Port Moresby in the late 70s. My parents have photos of me crawling round on the floor of various cockpits (some things don't change).

Thus although I can't place them clearly, what with being so young, my first memories are vaguely of aircraft smells and the like. My first well formed memory of a plane was a Vulcan I saw/heard at Duxford as a sprog following our return to Blighty. Aptly named, that beast.

Cheers, SSS

14th Dec 2004, 16:47
Dad used to work on the Trident project at Hatfield and as a wee nipper, I recall them flying overhead and him telling me about it.

'Daddy made that one' - thats what I thought anyway.

Funny thing is, he hated flying and I recall the only time I have been in a plane with him, (which was my first ever time in a plane,) he was petrified but trying hard not to show it. I knew however and was also petrified . . . until the engines started and it began to gather speed on the runway. It rotated and went up and I went crazy with excitement. The excitement wore off somewhere over France and I went to sleep. As a passenger, thats pretty much how it is to this day

14th Dec 2004, 18:01
In a word - Airday.

Growing up in Plymouth there were two major events a young KM-H looked forward to: Navy days at Devonport Dockyard and Airday, held at Roborough.

Despite the opportunity of climbing up and down ladders on HM finest warships, even looking at Phantoms and Buccaneers on the (real) Ark Royal flight deck, I looked forward to standing for ages on the grass at Roborough, my hands over my ears, mums hands over my hands feeling the ground shake during the Vulcan display. The Red Arrows flying Gnats not Hawks and of course the Lightning.

After 15 years in the RAF I can claim to have (briefly for some) worked on every one of the above. Happy days.

14th Dec 2004, 18:41
Can't remember not being in love with the skies! :) initially I never thought I could actually fly, always one of those dreamy type things, like have 75 trillion dollars, not going to happen.

One day my sister introduced me to a real pilot, who basically had a couple of hundred hours and a 182 rating. While hours building one day he took me for a flight...never looked back.

Now if I find someone who is mildly interested, then boy do I encourage them!! I have taken several teenagers who have throughly enjoyed flying and now fly commercially. Cool. Their parents hated me for it though! :)

The pain is that they have more than doubled the number of hours that I am on so far.

15th Dec 2004, 05:46
The sight of a lone Wellington flying low over the burnt-out shell of my school following a Luftwaffe visit the night before. The Wellington had probably just returned from a sortie to Germany and had been diverted to show the flag.

Lance Murdoch
15th Dec 2004, 17:32
Unlike many on this forum I have no family history in aviation. I didnt even fly until I was 18 (5 minute joyride in a Sea King courtesy of the Fleet Air Arm) and didnt fly on an airliner until I was 21! I am the first person in my family to learn to fly (although when there are some Lance juniors they will be encouraged to head in that direction). Havent a clue what sparked my interest, being an engineer I can only imagine it was some form of osmosis.

15th Dec 2004, 17:46
I got a ride in a V-35 Bonanza from my father when I was about six years old. Back then Bonanzas were finished, mostly, in polished alloy: what a looker of a machine! It ruined me for anything but aviation, I guess.

15th Dec 2004, 19:39
For me it was a combination of fantastic airshows, my grandfathers war tales about low-level Mosquito bombing runs near the Rhine, and numerous rides on DC-9s and 727s as a kid :D

Teddy Robinson
15th Dec 2004, 19:54
... wandered into a hanger at Luton as a 12 year old lad... when the place still had grass runways as well as the concrete one, and there was this beautiful pure white machine towering above me, gently dripping oil into trays on the hanger floor.

The aromas of hot engine, cold AVGAS, and plush leather seats all rolled into one... bit like the English Aeroplane version of Christmas day smell.

Twas the DH Dove owned by the National Coal Board .. from that moment ... I was hooked.

15th Dec 2004, 21:29
Heli-skiing. Never done it but watched it in ski films and wanted to be the guy in the chopper. So how did I end up in an airplane then?!

Conan the Librarian
10th Jan 2005, 19:56
When as a snotty nosed five year old kid and my dad was working away, we went to join him for the summer hols. A few miles down the road was Middleton St George. Oh God - the Lightnings... Think they were rehearsing for the BoB display or something. (Does the name "Ginger" Godwin ring a bell with anyone?) The bug had bitten.

Other memories which did nothing to put me off, included Anti Flash Vulcans at the Tern Hill airshow (64 maybe?) doing low flypasts. Hearing has never been the same since...

10th Jan 2005, 20:10
In a small mexico town after spending 3+ days driving there, I met a retired US airforce Lt Colonel (retired) ex P51 pilot and Berlin airlift veteran who said that he got to the town in 4 hours from the US in his Cessna. He said "You should learn to fly, its easy" (well it probably was for him!)

10th Jan 2005, 20:24
When I was little my family used to travel a lot. The best moment of the vacation was the airport and the trip. I thought being on an aircraft and travelling for a living was too good to be true. And my dad (who graduated as an engineer) was always very happy to go to the Bourget airshow. But the final blow to my parents' ambitions of having a scientist or writer daughter was a visit to the Concorde on the tarmac with my class ;)

10th Jan 2005, 21:42
Dad showed me a little blue book one day... was the logbook of W/O Royston William Purcell, my grandfather's uncle, nav on Lancasters with 467 Sq... shot down and KIA aged 22 over Lille in May 1944. That sorta kicked it off...

Atlas Shrugged
10th Jan 2005, 21:58
Not really sure what started me off, more necessity than anything else I guess.

Now itís the sense of freedom that I get from flying and the sense of pride that comes from doing something that few people can do. Itís also the feeling I get from doing something that throws up new challenges every single time as well as the humbling reminder that just when you think you've got it figured out, it'll tell you in it's own way that it's not to be taken for granted. After all, only two things were ever intended to fly through the air Ė rain & birdshit and itís just not normal for us humans to whiz around in a tin can 10,000 feet above the earth at 350 kph.


10th Jan 2005, 22:05
Grew up on Long Island watching C-119s and C-131s in and out of Mitchell Field, plus Dad was an Army Artillery Spotter in Europe and Korea. I really can't remember a time was I was not in love with aviation. We used to go to Idlewyld to see the big Connies, DC 6's and 7's. I've always loved the big radials.

10th Jan 2005, 22:17
I was just a kid when I've saw the first C5 Galaxy (delivering 6 T-38's to the AF as I recall) to land at LPAR. Me and a lot of my schoolmates cut class to watch the take off :)

My first flight, as pax, was on an AF Cessna O-2 Skymaster (called FTB here) with the pilots trying to make me throw up:yuk: with a terrible sequence of steep turns, ups and downs, you name it... 'cos if i had, I had to pay a lot of the beer (along with the floor cleanning!) - AHH! no such luck :E :E :E


10th Jan 2005, 23:24
Sometime after midnight, hellacious thunderstorm going on..... house suddenly shaking with the monstrous roar of a very low-level Skyraider.

Mum collecting the kids "There's only one idiot that would be flying in this, lets go pick up your father".

Huge, oil streaked Skyraider taxiing into the ramp floodlights glistening in rain with a backdrop of lightning. Canopy open, Dad smiling over the side at us.

The smell of wet leather flight jacket and fine cigar.

Totally hooked.

17th Jan 2005, 23:11
My Grandfather. Took me flying in a Rapide at 4 years old, sent me solo at 17 in a Tiger Moth. No other career would have suited.:D

18th Jan 2005, 03:56
Lived in Gibraltar as a young lad and used to bike out to the airport to watch the Shackletons (Mk 1) return and the daily BEA Viking arrive. The local transport between Gib and Tangiers was a Dragon Rapide, AKA Dominie.
At school I had the current Observers Book of Aircraft memorised.
Read the books by Neville Duke, Mike Lithgow, Brickhill (Bader and Dambusters), Adolph Galland, Heinz Knoke's "I flew for the Fuhrer" and my favourite, "The Big Show" by Pierre Clostermann. Still have them all. I was tickled to see somewhere M. Clostermann is still with us.
Got my wings in the RCAF in '60 (could not believe it was real) and retired with regret from the airline when I hit the "Thank you very much Captain" age.

Ace Rimmer
18th Jan 2005, 08:56
Many many back and forths across t'pond at an impressionable age due to family circumstances (still have an irrational fondness for 707s). In those days to get to or Texas you had to go via JFK or MIA and usually switch carriers (ahhh Eastern and Delta 727s still think the '27 is cool too).

In addition Old man Rimmer flew and so did Uncle Rimmer and Aunt Rimmer. I remember one time walking home from school when the old man appeared in a Luscombe he had at the time orbiting about 200 ft AGL engine at idle yelling to me to to tell my mother to go and pick him up (he was returning from a TDY).

I recall one of the other kids I was walking with saying that her dad would do that too (the way kids do) but there wasn't a opening window in a T38 and so he just buzzed the house instead.As indeed he did and it was chuffing loud... (her dad drove Apollo CSM/LMs for a living and Astros used to (and I think still do) commute in T38s).

Being at Clover Field south of Houston and OMR and I are walking along when he stops by a Citabria and we look the aircraft over and open up the doors for a look inside and the old man says "What do you think of it?" I reply burble on about every thing I know about Citabrias in a generally positive way and he says "Well that's good because we've just bought it lets go see what it flies like but don't tell your mother about the aerobatics part".

Being dropped off (or not ) by the old man at school and him saying "Well you can go to school today or you can come flying with me, I have to go to Corpus Christi for a meeting but you'll have to do the flight planning and navigation it's up to you" (I was I think about 10 at the time and struggling with Mathmatics I guess his plan was to demonstrate a practical use for the subject though I'd flown a lot with him this was my first XC and it was great).

Bottom line, I was hooked, still am, always will be.

18th Jan 2005, 10:37
Manchester airshow held at Barton, and the excitement of cycling over the last motorway bridge before Manchester Airport, on a cold Saturday morning.

MACC 29 all the time!!!!
18th Jan 2005, 10:41
Apparently not long after being born (in a Preston guild year ,google it rather than me explain!!) Concorde flew directly over our house , as part of the 1972 guild celebrations, waking me only moments after me mum had spent hours trying to get me to sleep, I'd like to think that were beginning.

18th Jan 2005, 10:54
Definately airlplane models, got completely hooked, added with books my grand dad gave me about the planes he flew in war, and I couldn't get enough.

Funnily enough never seemed an idea to become a career and seem to have fallen into, but Love it all the same and wouldn't change it for the world!.......just maybe the company and scenery !!:cool: