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BEA / BOAC Training 1960's - 1970's

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BEA / BOAC Training 1960's - 1970's

Old 11th Sep 2019, 17:59
  #61 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: South East of Penge
Age: 70
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BEags, I was offered a "Free Transfer " to Hamble by the Towers' Commandant after 100 hrs on the JP in 1973 " I just have to pick up this 'phone".
I went Ground Branch instead as I just smelled a rat somewhere.
Oh , by the way, don't forget BoB day 15 th September is coming up, It is also the 50th anniverary of the Premiere of the film " Battle of Britain" , which we attended and which famously witnessed your initial on screen sighting of a certain lady's frillies in 1969 .
This momentous occasion of course was laid on in honour of another landmark in RAF History.

The day we were Commissioned!

Last edited by Haraka; 11th Sep 2019 at 18:23.
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Old 11th Sep 2019, 19:48
  #62 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2010
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Was at it as well after winning tickets at our Southend flying clubs annual knees up.
club run by crooked scrap dealer with such low calibre instructors that I decided I could do better.
Flew today..sadly never fast jets but fun nonetheless

aircraft reflection in visor
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Old 19th May 2020, 21:20
  #63 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: UK
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Originally Posted by blind pew View Post
The only definite one was liberal studies but ex university cadets warned us to be careful as we might be watched wrt our political views which was apparently normal practice. Supposedly there were recruiters for the MI5 at all universities at that time. One of the first films we were shown was a German anti war film dubbed in English (all quiet on the western front). Worth watching imho.
I think that we probably just went into greater depth including the historical development for example the WW2 nav aids although some of them were still covered by the official secrets act which we had to sign.
As a side line, one of my mates had quit jet provosts after losing two on his course..said that the level of technical instruction was far inferior in the RAF.
We also had one from the Fleet Air Arm who commented about the huge number of fatal accidents from graduates of previous courses. (Many from car and motorcycle accidents - I had to pay a higher insurance rate in the 70s because of being a pilot. Apparently the underwriters consider pilots a bad risk..Just ordered an aprilia rsv4 1100rr 169bhp ;-) )
I was at CAT Hamble 1970-72 and did not have to sign the Official Secrets Act...
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Old 20th May 2020, 09:07
  #64 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: The Smaller Antipode
Age: 86
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Talking about prejudice, previous inquiries revealed that some BOAC captains refused to socialize down route with the F/E's on the basis of class! Now thats one for the history books

One of the so called North Atlantic Barons would tell the co-pilot - "Tell Mr. XXXX ( the Flt. Eng. ) that I want take off power" He wouldn't actually talk to his own F/Eng. under normal circumstances. Way above talking to lower mortals..

As a S/O - P.3.- Nav. I was admonished for calling out to the co-pilot " Hey, Bill, the Selcal's going" The N.Atl. Baron swung around and said " We do NOT use christian names on the flight deck, MR XXXXX. "

As has been mentioned, the few "notables" were the exception, I am glad I had the experience of flying with their more amenable colleagues, I learned a lot from them. Years later, when the new entrants, who were familiar with INS ( pre- GPS ! ) were joining, and I was then training them, one of my colleagues said " How different to when we started, some of the Captains couldn't fly an instrument let down to save their lives, but pop out of cloud too high, not lined up, not configured correctly, too fast, and we said -- the runway's over there, Sir ( never forgetting the Sir ! ) they would straighten up and fly a magnificent manual approach and landing, something ou present trainees are having difficulty with, tho' they can manage the INS better than us "

Why North Atlantic Baron ? BOAC crews flying East were accommodated in hotels at company expense, including hotel dining room meals, but any spending money, i.e. in the bar, was their own responsibility, but in North America hotels rarely had Full Board, so one had to buy meals at local cafes and coffee shops, so in North America US dollars were given on arrival. I recall my early days flying to New York, I would have the hotel room paid for, but was then given $10 a day for all my meals, and one could actually manage on that, and save a few dollars for the night in the bar. One of my first Captains led me to a place where we got a full cooked, English, breakfast for $1. and in the evening Tad's Steak House for a huge steak dinner for $1,19. As a result, the older WW II Captains ensured that their seniority and status ensured that they never had to risk spending their own money on Eastern routes, in places like Karachi, or Hong Kong, and only ever flew across the Atlantic.

I joined as an ex-RAF entrant, and was trained as a navigator on a 9 month ground school course run by BOAC, and then started my airborne navigator training on the Stratocruiser which had then started flying to Nigeria, Kano. Lagos etc. as a result of the then Dictator - sorry President - Jomo Nkomah (?) insisting that the only way BOAC was going continue flying to Nigeria was if they used their then most prestigious aircraft, the Strat. As the Strat, had previously only flown across the Atlantic, all the Captains were the "Barons" who now not only had to fly to darkest Africa, but spend their own money in the bar after flying. Quelle Horreur !!

Perhaps I should write a book ? Incidentally David Beatty wrote another interesting tale, Cone of Silence, on the bookshelf above me as I write this.

Last edited by ExSp33db1rd; 20th May 2020 at 09:18.
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Old 20th May 2020, 09:16
  #65 (permalink)  
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Perhaps I should write a book ?
I think you should - a lot of my recent book acquisitions have been military or civil air crew memories and I've yet to be disappointed!

By the way Jomo Nkoma sounds like a cross ("mash up" I believe the youngsters say) between Kenya and Zambia's first dict... er, Presidents!
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Old 20th May 2020, 13:29
  #66 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: by the seaside
Age: 71
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Official secrets act

Thicko you must have overslept.
There were two probable reasons..one was working for a state enterprise which happened to service our embassies, (carried diplomatic mail in the cockpit to), the other was radio comms especially HF but I cannot remember which..I just signed and accepted it.
(I know it was an offence to divulge HF comms.)
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Old 20th May 2020, 17:11
  #67 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
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Originally Posted by ExSp33db1rd View Post
as a result of the then Dictator - sorry President - Jomo Nkomah (?) insisting that the only way BOAC was going continue flying to Nigeria was if they used their then most prestigious aircraft, the Strat.
That doesn't quite ring true.

Nigeria didn't have its first President until 1963, following independence in 1960, and the Stratocruisers were long gone by then.
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Old 21st May 2020, 04:41
  #68 (permalink)  
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That doesn't quite ring true.
Try This ! Sorry about the Mash !

Kwame Nkrumah. Kwame Nkrumah PC (21 September 1909 – 27 April 1972) was a Ghanaian politician and revolutionary. He was the first Prime Minister and President of Ghana, having led the Gold Coast to independence from Britain in 1957

I can't even remember where my car keys are today, never mind who did what in changing African geo-politcal affairs after I left school, all long gone history now. Jomo wotisname - Kenyatta ? was involved with Kenya of course, and Joshua ? Nkomo with Zambia ! I self-corrected at 03.00 this morning !

Makes no difference to the reason that Stratocruisers started flying to West Africa as well as across the Atlantic, BOAC services variously stopped at Rome, Barcelona, Tripoli, to Kano, Lagos and Accra. It was Nkrumah that demanded that the Strat. replaced whatever had traditionally served West Africa up until then - Argonauts ( DC-4 ? ) - just before my time ( 1958) so don't remember too clearly now. . Argonauts, Connies, Yorks and the like had, or were just, being withdrawn in favour of DC-7C's, Britannias, Comets, and shortly afterwards the Comet IV, Boeing 707 and V.C.10 on BOAC routes.

I recall that during the ground school course we were taught about aircraft magnetism,and the effect it had on compass systems, by imagining a cargo load of soft iron rods had been loaded longitudinally and laterally across the aircraft. On my first airborne trip under training as a navigator on a Strat. my instructor suggested that as we weren't actually doing much navigation across Europe, the pilots following established airways with their NDB equipment, that I practice using the sextant by working out a few Compass checks using Astro Sun shots. The first result was rubbish, and I re-calculated everything and did it again,with a similar useless result. By this time my Instructor was beginning to wonder what he had been given to try to teach, and with the demanding Sahara Desert crossing to Kano coming up he brushed me aside to "Shown Me How To Do It" . His work produced the same rubbish. By now the pilots were commenting that their attempts to follow the published magnetic tracks were not doing very well, but nevertheless they managed to reach Tripoli without too much drama, tho' the skipper was not feeling too happy about the coming night sector across the Sahara in view of the varying compass readings and apparent incompetence of his navigators.

On the refuelling stop at Tripoli the navigator examined the aircraft holds, and came back and said "You're not going to believe this, but the holds are full of soft iron concrete reinforcing rods !! The Captain demanded that they be offloaded, to the objection of the Station Manager who said that they were required for a building project in Lagos, how was he supposed to get them there ? Don't care, said the Captain, put them on a camel if you like but they ain't coming on my aircraft. After that my Astro navigation improved, tho' I didn't have time for a meal as well for the whole of the seven hour sector !

I know that you're going to ask why the iron rods hadn't been questioned when the load sheet had been signed on departure ? I can't answer that.

In answer to an early query, initially, tho' "engaged" and paid, as a pilot, I was used as a "straight" navigator with no aircraft type rating and required to maintain my CPL renewal by flying Chipmunks owned by The Airways Aero Ass'n. a flying training outfit maintained by BOAC and BEA ( ?) based at Croydon, but having flown 5 trips on the Strat. I was then moved to the Brit. 312 to complete my training, and having gained the Flt.Nav. Licence I then continued flying as Nav. only on the East African routes, Kenya, Uganda etc. and it was only after a year of that was I "allowed" to be sent back to the training unit to be indoctrinated into navigating the dangerous Atlantic route, for which I eventually earned an Atlantic Ops. Cert as a Brit 312, navigator. Big Deal !

3 years after first joining, and having spent all that time only navigating in one form or another, I was moved to the Boeing 707, initially as S/O Nav / P.3, i.e. I completed the necessary handling of the 707 to be awarded a CAA type rating, but BOAC only issued me with a restricted Ops. Cert. which meant that I could fulfil the P.3. position, e.g. Jump Seat monitoring etc. but not fly as co-pilot,even tho' from a CAA perspective I was "legal" to do that with my CPL. but after a 3 month posting to Honolulu in this position, followed by more handling training, I was given a full Ops. Cert as a co-pilot on the 707, promoted to F/O, and after that flew every trip as either the Nav. or the co-pilot, the decision as to which was usually by mutual agreement between myself and the other equally dual qualified F/O and the Captain. During this time I became a Navigator instructor, and in contrast to my first seven hour crossing of the Sahara with no time for a meal, on occasions when I might be navigating without a student, I might navigate from New York to London and fulfil the requirement to log an Astro fix every 30 minutes, eat dinner and finish a paperback that I might have bought leaving JFK. at the same time. It's only hands on experience, and although I couldn't do it now I'd love to be given the chance ! A local student pilot recently asked "What was a sextant " as he tore his eyes away from his Smartphone for a few seconds. One could weep.

I gained a Command on the Boeing 707 16 years after joining, a 747 Command 2 years later, and for personal reasons accepted Severance at age 48, some 7 years before the then compulsory retirement age of 55,and finished my professional career at age 60 as a 747 pilot instructor with SIA. I have just decided to hand in my NZ Microlight Instructors rating, tho' I still fly the beasts. ( not really microlights, LSA's in USA speak )

Would I do it all again ? In a heartbeat, probably start a bit sooner, and have a better Seniority position !

I think you should - a lot of my recent book acquisitions have been military or civil air crew memories and I've yet to be disappointed!
Not sure, many have and still are, and I think it is a limited audience ?

Last edited by ExSp33db1rd; 21st May 2020 at 05:21.
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Old 21st May 2020, 11:20
  #69 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 1999
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The novel 'Madeleine's Quest' by Julien Evans includes descriptions of BOAC B707 ops in the late 1960s and wartime ATA aircraft ferry ops.

In 1971 I did my FI course with the legendary Joan Hughes (one of the ATA ladies), as did several BOAC F/Os so that they could become trainers.
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Old 21st May 2020, 16:29
  #70 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: UK
Posts: 531
Michael Riley's "A Concorde In My Toybox" tells much about BEA and BOAC training. A very good read.
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