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BEA / BOAC Training 1960's - 1970's

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BEA / BOAC Training 1960's - 1970's

Old 18th Sep 2008, 19:12
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BEA / BOAC Training 1960's - 1970's

COURSE LENGTH
How long was the Hamble course and what was the failure rate? Where were the training centres?

JET TRANSITION
Did Trainees fly circuits in the actual a/c - how long? I Have heard stories of trainees using the VC-10 in training.

STREAMING
As I understand, SO 707/VC-10 was the classic BOAC route (And SO Trident for BEA) ? Would being put on the Heron or Viscount/Vanguard seem bad at the time?

TIME TO COMMAND
How long as SO, and FO before SFO (Did they always have those?) and Captain on average?

ROLES
How did the SO differ from the FO? DId the SO perform F/E duties (or Navigator on the 707/747).

COMPANY TRANSITION
How easy to move between BEA and BOAC?

Many thanks if anybody knows the answers!
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Old 18th Sep 2008, 19:26
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Not a lot but i can remember in the early 70's, the 707 and VC-10's crew training at RAE Bedford (Thurleigh) on Saturdays,also they used Shannon alot for training.
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Old 18th Sep 2008, 19:42
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flash8

I will answer as it relates to BOAC and leave the BEA answers to somebody else.

The Hamble course was 18 months. BOAC/BEA also trained pilots at Perth and Oxford although the course was shorter (1 year?).

The failure rate at Hamble was about 30%, although much smaller at Perth and Oxford. 48 started on my Hamble course and 32 finished.

Pilots joining BOAC went on to either the 707 or VC10.

After simulator training, up to two weeks of aircraft base training were completed which included about 40 landings.

Pilots had to complete a full Flight Navigators course and obtain the red licence. One of the co-pilots would have to navigate on Nav sectors whether they were SO, FO or SFO.

Two years were spent as SO (one stripe) followed by a further eight years as FO (two stripes). SFO (three stripes) came after ten years in the company. Time to command varied between nine years and twenty years (unfortunately twenty in my case).

It was not easy to transfer to BEA until the merger when it slowly became possible.

In 1969 BOAC produced an excellent film showing the training of a BOAC pilot, from starting the course at Hamble to completing his line training. There are some excellent shots of the VC10 during his base training at Shannon.

Hope this helps

Dave
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Old 18th Sep 2008, 20:25
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Guys, many thanks, Capt. Airclues, the failure rate at Hamble was about 30% seems that the course must have been tough.

As a self-improver - how did these fare with entry into BOAC/BEA back then? Was the mood prejudicial towards such oiks (I firmly place myself in this category!) ?

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.

All answers are greatly appreciated. My curiosity about the "olde days" knows no bounds I'm afraid.
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Old 19th Sep 2008, 07:44
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I have been witness [late at night] to a number of pilots crawling/unable to stand across a polished wooden floor, on their way to more booze at the bar.........who all claimed that only Hamble produced real pilots, the other halls of commercial piloting being decidedly inferior!

And the bitching over seniority!!!!

BTW Did any women graduate from Hamble? They must have gone through h*ll......

Female pilots are so much more fun to fly with - ego problems don't exist do they?
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Old 19th Sep 2008, 09:45
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flash8

The Hamble course was no tougher than either the Perth or Oxford course. However the BEA/BOAC management were able to influence the Hamble graduation numbers to fit their needs. The other schools, being private establishments were not as easily influenced. There were several excellent pilots who were 'chopped' from my course, and many of them went on to have successful careers in other airlines.

Although the colleges supplied the bulk of the pilots for a while, there was also recruitement from other sources such as the military and 'self-improvers'. The only difference was that anyone joining with an ATPL was given two years seniority on joining.

The vast majority of captains were very sociable and I never saw any snobbery with FE's. Most of them were ex WW11 pilots with several rows of medal ribbons. They had some great stories to tell after a couple of beers in the bar.

aviate1138

Sad!

Best Wishes

Dave
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Old 19th Sep 2008, 10:43
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"Female pilots are so much more fun to fly with - ego problems don't exist do they?"

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Old 19th Sep 2008, 12:12
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One wonders what the reaction of today's ba beancounters would be to the concept of training their own pilots on an 18-month course!

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Old 21st Sep 2008, 16:32
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..............and the 40 touch & go's for base training! Nowdays they even complain about the cost of 2 hours in the sim for ZFT.
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Old 23rd Sep 2008, 18:22
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I went through Hamble in the mid 60s on one of the early 18 month courses prior to that the course had been 2 years. Also at the time they ran a 1 year course for university graduates. 38 started the course 21 graduated
After graduation from Hamble I joined BEA and did a conversion onto my first type with the usual chalk and talk technical course. (not many teaching aids and no procedure trainer) A full ARB written exam followed.
The simulator course was 60 hours followed by 10hrs of aircraft time involving upper air work ( stalling, high speed run, relighting and dutch rolling) and circuit bashing (all engines engine out in day and night and flapless landings) Then 40 sectors of line training.
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Old 6th Oct 2008, 12:50
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Capt Alfie Plastow

Hi all,

Just found this site today whilst searching for some info for my G/F Joanne Plastow who's dad was Alfie Plastow

There is alot that we both don't know about Jo's parents and any info would be helpful

I am very interested myself as he sounded quite a guy and wish I could have met him

From what I know he flew Wellingtons in the 2nd world war, but for what squadron we don't know

After the war he flew Tri-stars for BEA, where he met Joannes mother who was one of the first seven air stewardess's

He went on to teach with fight simulators, maybe at Heston we don't know. Alfie died around 20yrs ago and Jo's mother sum 35 yrs ago

Alfie had 2 families and provided for both of them both before and after he died, like I say quite a guy

Regards
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Old 12th May 2009, 14:48
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I recall hearing from a retired TWA Connie Captain about a transit stop he made at Shannon in the early 1950's. He was much amused to see a BOAC crew enjoying breakfast in the airport restaurant, except for their Captain, who was sitting in imperious isolation at his own table. From his description, I think it may have been Capt.O.P.Jones, one of the legendary BOAC "Barons" of the 1940's and 1950's.

Was this the same chap who later tarnished his record by landing his Stratocruiser short at Goose Bay in the mid-1950's?
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Old 13th May 2009, 12:01
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There's a lot of nonsense spoken by individuals about the alleged snobbishness at BOAC. I came through Hamble in 1969 and started flying in BOAC on VC10s. I never saw any of the alleged behaviour though lots of people talk about it! There was more drinkingin those days, and t must have been difficult for some of the old ex-war Captains in their 50s seeing this flood of 20/21 year old bright and bushy young pilots being thrust upon them! I recall a lot of help and advice and a gentle introduction to the wide world!

We had a 1/3 failure rate. One course that was undesired lost 8 out of 11. Wonderful years, superb unlimited training and 'enjoy yourself at Shannon'. Not like that anymore!
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Old 13th May 2009, 19:30
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As a newly joined F/E with BOAC in 1968 I never experienced any problems with Captains and/or the pilot group. We were just four people enjoying both the jobs we were doing and the chance it gave us to see the world. In fact I always found the older members of the crew, Captains included, always willing to show us youngsters around or at least advise on what to go and see, mind you in some of the less desirable places of the world I now realize I might have done better to ignore some of their advise

I remember it all with great fondness
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Old 18th Oct 2018, 20:14
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Good afternoon

Really interesting how was flight training in 1960s/1970s in comparison with modern.
How many ATPL theory exams were, same subjects or different ?
It was possible to move for example with UK CAA licence to another european state?
Thanks!
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Old 19th Oct 2018, 05:24
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Air law 1 & 2, nav plot and theory, engines, aerodynamics, radio theory, practical including Morse at 12 words per minute, liberal studies where you kept stumm as you had signed the official secrets act and there was active recruitment at British universities. Met 1 and 2...possibly performance although think that was done in the corporation's.mental calcs which many feared as they did with the link trainer and a polish? Instructor.
student unions bar where those who could afford it practised heavy drinking so that they were up to speed before they joined the corporations.
225 hours including 70 on the baron of which 20? Was solo.
corrections to previous posts..BEA did put guys onto the vanguard first..we had to fly three pilot aircraft first and were trained up as some of the old boys couldn't fly an instrument approach on the trident.
. 2 years SO, two years AFO, four years FO then SFO when you got onto Dan Air FO salary ..20 years to command. Was worse than pay to fly nowadays.
Lord king changed everything and got rid of most of the dross in management.
Transfer wasn't easy and I was on the first group..I had a lot to learn about professionalism and was qualified P1 on a heavy jet when 28.
wasn't that easy to transfer countries..I did to CH who desperately needed experienced pilots of high standard and basically pulled the strings in the luftampt but we still has to do one of the ATPL exams.
Their training both ground and in the air made BA look like amateurs, which was partly due to taking in a mix of training captain's from around the world on mega salaries and a core of single seat jet jockies predominately both Swiss and Luftwaffe.
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Old 19th Oct 2018, 11:41
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Flash, you may find this documentary, made around 1970, interesting.
(ignore the first 35 seconds)
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Old 19th Oct 2018, 13:53
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There's a lot of nonsense spoken by individuals about the alleged snobbishness at BOAC.
During a visit to England in the early 1980's I met Captain David Beaty who wrote a book on flight safety called The Naked Pilot. David was a former wartime bomber pilot who joined BOAC after leaving the RAF. He also wrote a book called Call me Captain,based upon his time in BOAC. I stand to be corrected as it was a long time ago. He lived in Sussex or Kent then. At the time I was a 737 captain with a South Pacific operator as well as being a former RAAF pilot.

David kindly invited my wife and I into his cottage for a cuppa and chat. I mentioned how much I had enjoyed his book. The Naked Pilot was all about pilot error incidents and accidents. David said he had experienced great reluctance by many of the captains he had interviewed for his book, to admit they had made mistakes.

I suggested to him that if he ever got around to writing a sequel to The Naked Pilot, it would be worthwhile his interviewing airline first officers as they would have been immediate witnesses to their captain's mistakes.
I must have inadvertently crossed a line in the sand of British Class, because as soon as I suggested First Officers as a source of information, David rose to his feet, thanked me curtly for my time and gave my wife and I the metaphorical bum's rush out of the door. We drove away, shaking our heads in bewilderment.

Last edited by Centaurus; 19th Oct 2018 at 14:09.
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Old 19th Oct 2018, 16:23
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I joined BOAC in 1962, having been on the first course at Hamble - it was a two year course in those days. I then had to do a flight navigator's course and operated on Britannia 312s as a straight nav for two years before converting to VC10s as a pilot/navigator in 1964. As others have mentioned on this thread, the co-pilots, regardless of seniority, alternated between the right hand seat and the nav table on a fairly equitable basis. And they did so until INS was retro-fitted in the early 1970s.

I found the vast majority of captains to be very helpful to young blokes like me. However, there was a small minority, consisting of some of the old 'Atlantic Barons' (as they were called) and a few very odd types who were very odd indeed and very autocratic - but they were the minority. I can remember many more times being given very good advice and help during route flying and during bar-room chat. And also hearing many wonderful stories of the old days of flying boats and such like.

It is a great shame that it was the few odd-balls who were much talked about and who gave the rest a bad name.
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Old 19th Oct 2018, 17:13
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Originally Posted by Centaurus View Post
During a visit to England in the early 1980's I met Captain David Beaty who wrote a book on flight safety called The Naked Pilot. David was a former wartime bomber pilot who joined BOAC after leaving the RAF. He also wrote a book called Call me Captain,based upon his time in BOAC. I stand to be corrected as it was a long time ago. He lived in Sussex or Kent then. At the time I was a 737 captain with a South Pacific operator as well as being a former RAAF pilot.

David kindly invited my wife and I into his cottage for a cuppa and chat. I mentioned how much I had enjoyed his book. The Naked Pilot was all about pilot error incidents and accidents. David said he had experienced great reluctance by many of the captains he had interviewed for his book, to admit they had made mistakes.

I suggested to him that if he ever got around to writing a sequel to The Naked Pilot, it would be worthwhile his interviewing airline first officers as they would have been immediate witnesses to their captain's mistakes.
I must have inadvertently crossed a line in the sand of British Class, because as soon as I suggested First Officers as a source of information, David rose to his feet, thanked me curtly for my time and gave my wife and I the metaphorical bum's rush out of the door. We drove away, shaking our heads in bewilderment.
Seems an odd reaction, considering he was evidently well into the frailties of interpersonal relationships in the cockpit. I wonder what he thought of the introduction of CRM courses in the 1980s.

Beaty's early novel, "The Heart of the Storm", was evidently based on his post-war experiences with BSAA and graphically describes the pressures associated with long-haul ops at medium altitudes in bad weather over the mid-Atlantic with limited navigational aids and fuel.

Back on topic, I think the reason the BOAC/BEA cadet courses at Perth and Oxford were shorter than at Hamble may have been that the ATPL ground studies were not covered. Presumably the chaps I remember at Scone (Perth) in 1966/7 went to Hamble later to get their deferred ATPLs? The standard CPL/IR course at Perth was supposed to be about a year, although bad wx typically caused delays of a month or two - sometimes at the IR stage.

Some of the "Atlantic barons" mentioned by Bergerie 1 seem to have taken retirement jobs (aged 50) in the independents. I flew with one of them on Herons and Daks. A bit pompous. Having been used to flying on IFR flight-plans, he was completely lost when flying off-airways at low altitude, thinking that an ATC clearance ensured separation. (I'd probably be just as bad now!) Fortunately, he left us after a year or so for a job on B720s with newly-formed Monarch, which would have been more of his cup of tea.

Last edited by Chris Scott; 19th Oct 2018 at 17:26.
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