View Full Version : Ron Yates

Fris B. Fairing
29th Oct 2012, 21:07
Regret to advise that Ron Yates passed away in the early hours of Saturday morning in the Royal North Shore Hospital after a short illness. Ron Yates was the first aeronautical engineer employed by Qantas. He oversaw the introduction of the Constellation, the Boeing 707 and the Boeing 747. He later served as CEO of Qantas and was Patron of the Qantas Foundation Memorial's project to return Boeing 707 VH-EBA to Australia. Ron will be remembered as the Engineer's Engineer and a Gentleman. He will be sadly missed.

Funeral details:

10.30 on Thursday 1st November.

St Michaels Catholic Church
204 Longueville Road
Lane Cove


(Deleted details of the burial as it is to be a private interment)

Ken Borough
29th Oct 2012, 21:40
How appropriate is it that Ron's Funeral and life will be celebrated on All Saints' Day?

A wonderful man whose contribution to Qantas was immeasureable is now at peace with his Maker. Rest In Peace Ronald John.....

29th Oct 2012, 22:06
Ron will be remembered as the Engineer's Engineer and a Gentleman. He will be sadly missed.

Yep no better way to describe him.

Just a great person,

my thoughts and all my best wishes to the family... RIP Ron..

29th Oct 2012, 22:18
Ron was a CEO that every Engineer looked up to.

29th Oct 2012, 23:06
What a fund of good yarns he had hived away in that engaging, fertile mind.

e.g. - '"I had just put my Cat on the mooring . . . this was late '44.... and gone across to the shops to see my girl who worked in the Rose Bay Pharmacy.

Her boss asked me what I'd be doing when the war was over. I said I hoped to be able to use my engineering degree in civil aviation. He said that he was a friend of the Qantas engineering boss Arthur Baird, who was living in the pub just over the road and that he would introduce me as soon as he'd shut shop and walked over the road to the pub.

Well shortly after that there I am shaking the hand that shook the hand of
Lord Stonehaven, once GG of Australia, and a great advocate of the early QANTAS. Well that's what Arthur assured me.

Straight off he asked me about my career intentions and I replied as I had earlier to the chemist. Then he asked me, in his broad Scots - "So what's your tool-box like, laddie?"

I replied that I did not have one, but that I did have a slide-rule.

Arthur came back with - "What fool use that would be to Qantas, I'm sure I don't know."

Fortunately for me after a few beers he had a rethink and the next day I was interviewed at Mascot by Lester Brain, who managed to expedite my discharge from the RAAF. One of my first really interesting engineering jobs for Qantas after the war was to go to Japan and oversea the production of the galleys that we put into the first 749s."

Had Ron put down half the stories he had as good as that one, what a great read that would have made.

30th Oct 2012, 00:13
Ron was the only latter-times Qantas Chief Executive to have come from an engineering discipline, and one for whom there was immense respect. Those who were employed during the Yates Era were privileged to have had him at the controls.

That he accepted the offer to be Patron of the 707 Restoration Project carried out by many of his ex-employees in 2006 gave them all an acute sense of connection to that marvellous time in Qantas' history.

Ron's encouragement of that recovery of VH-XBA, "his 707", was highlighted when, following a business trip to Paris, on 6 November '06 he called in to Southend Airport and spent most of the day talking with the engineers. They were more than impressed with his memory of the details of that aeroplane he so skilfully negotiated changes to that saw Boeing produce this one-off just for his airline.

When Ron's late wife was asked how she viewed his many achievements in the industry, which saw giant technical advancements and innovation, she replied: "Forget all those fancy aeroplanes and jets and things, it was the introduction of in-bound Duty Free that was his greatest contribution."

Men of Ron's character are rare and Australian aviation history made richer by his life, is now poorer by his passing. He will be remembered for many, many different reasons.

Finished With Engines, Shutdown Checklist Complete.

Fris B. Fairing
30th Oct 2012, 03:15

Dr Ron Yates AM in the cockpit of the first Qantas Boeing 707 VH-XBA at Southend on 6 November 2006. Photographic portrait by Norman King.

the rim
30th Oct 2012, 11:56
As said before this sums it up,may he rest in peace....still have my copy of "A Tradition of Interrity" the forward signed by Ron after a meeting with him....what a difference he made to Aviation in Australia....The Rim

30th Oct 2012, 12:09
It's a shame there aren't more of his calibre in the aviation industry today.

"nulli secundus"

tail wheel
31st Oct 2012, 00:32
Ron was a dedicated and exceptional airline manager, indeed one of the best airline CEOs Australia produced.

31st Oct 2012, 04:56
Sadly a couple of Qantas legends passed away at RNS last weekend.

Both Ron and Mike contributed a great deal to Qantas in their own way and all of us should be thankful for the legacy they have left.

Looking at the photo of Ron above, I can image Ron and Fitzy up there somewhere, trading stories and anecdotes for hours, both with the smile that Ron has in the 707 picture and a great deal of laughter filling the air. It would be a great conversation to eavesdrop on!

Thanks to both of you. We owe you plenty.

1st Nov 2012, 11:08
Vale Ron.

Qantas has never been as good since.

Captain Sherm
1st Nov 2012, 21:13
Worked alongside Ron on various airline/government policy committees in CBR in the '80s as DCA was being broken up and cost recovery being developed. He was across all the issues, commercial, operational, policy etc. Met him most recently at Farnborough a couple of years back.

A fine gentleman who knew not just the technical business but understood that in the end it was about serving passengers efficiently but with excellence.

Rest in peace Ron.