Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Aircrew Forums > Military Aviation
Reload this Page >

Elderly fast jet pilots

Military Aviation A forum for the professionals who fly military hardware. Also for the backroom boys and girls who support the flying and maintain the equipment, and without whom nothing would ever leave the ground. All armies, navies and air forces of the world equally welcome here.

Elderly fast jet pilots

Old 26th Jun 2017, 17:23
  #21 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2006
Location: front seat, facing forwards
Posts: 1,082
Originally Posted by Capt Scribble View Post
Had the pleasure to work with Gordon Reekie and Chris Heames at TTTE, I think Chris is still flying the Hunter at St Athan.

Are Hunters flying again then?

Heamesy taught me to fly the Hunter and Reeks was definitely of a characterful age when he stopped flying the Tonka.
just another jocky is online now  
Old 26th Jun 2017, 19:37
  #22 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Often in Jersey, but mainly in the past.
Age: 75
Posts: 5,803
Originally Posted by JENKINS View Post
While young Arthur was a Shackleton pilot, with a short time on BN2 among other types.
I knew Young Arthur well in the Shooting community, and I'm almost sure I met his dad at Manby/Strubby.
Has Young Arthur dried out yet, or has he gone to the great Beyond? He was a Fungi to be with on occasions, and a bloody good marksman.
MPN11 is offline  
Old 26th Jun 2017, 19:39
  #23 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Yorkshire
Posts: 508
I'm not so sure Chris Heames is actually that old - he just looks it!!
H Peacock is offline  
Old 28th Jun 2017, 15:04
  #24 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: UK
Posts: 655
The current maximum age for single pilot flying under UK MAA rules is 65. If a pilot has always flown fast jets then, generally, there is no significant reduction in flying ability with age and g tolerance is not affected. The issue is that if someone has a break away from fast jet flying then the older they are, the longer and harder it is to get back up to speed. The motor skills of controlling an aircraft do not tend to perish but the airmanship does. Also, technology moves on so there may be new technology operating skills to be learnt.

I know of a pilot who is over 60 and is currently flying 3 fast jet types under MAA regulation and gets current to fly a fourth type when required. This includes delivering high onset rate g training and flying aviation medicine trials at 9g. He has been flying fast jets for 39 years continuously other than a brief couple of years flying for an airline. As a child, he wanted to be a pilot when he grew up. He achieved 50% of this; he became a pilot but didn't grow up!

On a serious note, there is a difference between just flying the aeroplanes and flying on operations and above I am not considering flying in combat; that is a separate discussion.
LOMCEVAK is offline  
Old 28th Jun 2017, 20:45
  #25 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Just behind the back of beyond....
Posts: 4,059
He sounds like quite a chap, Lomcevak!
Jackonicko is offline  
Old 28th Jun 2017, 20:57
  #26 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Chedburgh, Bury St.Edmunds
Age: 77
Posts: 1,112
JUSTANOTHERJOCKY. No civilian Hunters flying, apart from the Military Contract ones [at Scampton??]/ Mr. Heames flies Gnats regularly at North Weald.
JEM60 is offline  
Old 29th Jun 2017, 08:07
  #27 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Bomber County
Posts: 30
I remember Geoff Timms still flying Harriers in his sixties!!!! I believe he finally retired aged 62. He was meticulous on his walk rounds and had eyes like a S*** House Rat!

Pat King was another, he could make 6600lbs of fuel last longer than anyone! Just tootling around, we often used to think he was overdue. The old saying old pilots and bold pilots used to spring to mind.
Teamchief is offline  
Old 29th Jun 2017, 09:16
  #28 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Cambridge
Posts: 645
There's hope for me yet a 49 then!

I have serious envy at some of you guys on here! I'd just love to sit in a fast jet, but if anyone wants to take me on a sortie, I'll happily get strapped in and enjoy the ride!
Treble one is offline  
Old 29th Jun 2017, 10:06
  #29 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Longton, Lancs, UK
Age: 76
Posts: 1,524
I last flew a Tornado from TTTE with Freeks in 1995. A combined age of 101 in the cockpit.
jindabyne is offline  
Old 29th Jun 2017, 10:40
  #30 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Stamford
Posts: 92
Originally Posted by jindabyne View Post
I last flew a Tornado from TTTE with Freeks in 1995. A combined age of 101 in the cockpit.
Canberra TT18 Bournemouth to Temora Australia 2002 combined age in the cockpit 159
scorpion63 is offline  
Old 29th Jun 2017, 10:57
  #31 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 94
Maybe not a fast jet but flew a Tucano when the combined age of the 2 occupants was in excess of 120 years. Between us we had flown Venom, Hunter, Sea Vixen, Lightning, Buccaneer, Phantom, Hawk, Tornado.
Firestreak is offline  
Old 29th Jun 2017, 11:40
  #32 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: UK
Posts: 91
I was approaching my 56th birthday when I stopped in March. A month or so before that I flew in a 111 yr old cockpit on an OLF sortie👹👹. If it's all you've ever done then it is perfectly normal.
60024 is offline  
Old 29th Jun 2017, 13:12
  #33 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Kings Lynn
Age: 77
Posts: 11
Ref the pilot referred to by LOMCEVAK, I think I first flew with him on 5 Oct 1979. Good to hear he is still going strong!
Hoddy is offline  
Old 29th Jun 2017, 13:45
  #34 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Yorkshire
Posts: 508
Not technically fast jet (albeit it was a pure jet and also pretty darn fast!) but a particular Canberra T4 QFI check sortie had a combined age of over 160years!

Back to fast jets, although the 2 QFIs certainly weren't youngsters, I recall a Hawk pairs sortie where all 4 of us had the same surname! No, it wasn't Smith!!!
H Peacock is offline  
Old 1st Jul 2017, 01:09
  #35 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Great South East, tired and retired
Posts: 2,892
In the 70s in Oz, the OC of the main bomber base, who was a Canberra pilot, decided he had to fly every machine on his base. He had some dual training in a Huey, pronounced himself ready for a solo, and with a Sgt crewman in the left seat (all the squadron pilots disappeared and the Sgt was the only one left sleeping) proceeded to pick up to the hover and have a stinger strike. Normally this requires an inspection, but the Air Cdre continued on and scared the Sgt sh1tless.

Next on his list was the F-111, and again he had some dual trng (VFR only) and declared he would go solo. A navigator who would be able to fly the bird himself was offered as a sacrifice, and away he went. After a short while he told the nav to turn on the TFR. "Sorry sir you are not qualified on TFR."
"TURN IT ON, FLIGHT LIEUTENANT!" - OK it gets turned on, and OC was scooting around at low level, when the TFR decided it had enough, had a failure, and went into a 3-g pullup. OC sits there, watching airspeed decay, as he doesn't understand what is going on.
"Push the over-ride button on the stick, sir..." says the nav.
OC over-rides the TFR and regains some semblance of flight, but when he releases the button it pulls up again. OC says to self "Self! Keep yer finger on the over-ride and it can't fly up like that!" so there he is with finger on button and hand-flying at 450kt at zot feet.

On return, Nav goes to Base XO, a Gp Capt, and relates the story. Gp Capt asks Air Cdre if this is correct, OC replies "The Flt Lt is lying!"

Another base, a few years later, OC decides to fly the Orion. While flopping around the skies, he is passed by a Mirage. He thinks he can show the Mirage a thing or two, so he grabs the throttles and firewalls all 4. However, comma, only the Engineer is supposed to operate the throttles, as the engines are powerfiul enough to overstress the wing under such conditions. And again, with a damaged aircraft, OC blithely continued on.

And if you reckoned YOUR air force was run by dills, this dill made it all the way to the top of ours.
Ascend Charlie is offline  
Old 1st Jul 2017, 21:01
  #36 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Yorkshire
Age: 68
Posts: 194
At the age of 48, still flying the Tornado, only occasionally, I found my ability to read flip cards at night and pull lots of G was no longer optimum. I had always felt that before the point that a Nav may worry about my pilot capabilities, I would hang up my wings. I was in a fortunate position to do so and have had no regrets.
MACH2NUMBER is offline  
Old 2nd Jul 2017, 07:44
  #37 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Somewhere flat
Age: 64
Posts: 4,191
Not a pilot, but Plt Off Bernard Green was 52 when he was shot down in a 44 Sqn Hampden during WW2. He fought in the First World War, was wounded twice, and ended the War as a major in the Machine Gun Corps.

He joined the RAF at the beginning of WW2 as a plt off and became an air gunner due to his MG experience. His 44 Sqn Hampden was shot down on his first mission, and "Pop" became a POW. He was sent to Stalag Luft III and took part in the Great Escape although he believed that his age contributed to his escape from execution by the Gestapo after he was recaptured.

His biography is an interesting read...

Wensleydale is offline  
Old 2nd Jul 2017, 08:25
  #38 (permalink)  

Avoid imitations
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Wandering the FIR and cyberspace often at highly unsociable times
Posts: 12,726
Some years ago I visited a war memorial cemetery in Berlin as part of a short RAF detachment. I found it very sad and sobering to realise that noted that at the age of 35 I was much older than most of the allied aircrew interred there and old enough to be the father of some of them.

I'm not saying how many years ago it was, but it was before the wall came down...and I'm still flying for a living... thankfully not on FJ.
ShyTorque is offline  
Old 2nd Jul 2017, 09:42
  #39 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Longton, Lancs, UK
Age: 76
Posts: 1,524

A good man though, for all that.
jindabyne is offline  
Old 2nd Jul 2017, 19:19
  #40 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: SW England
Age: 66
Posts: 1,272
Hi Shy,

Still flying for a living here too, and although not fast jet our 'wing'-tips are occasionally transonic which might count for summat.

Did an OPC on one of our contract pilots t'other day (we'd been on the same QHI course in 1984); combined age in the cockpit was 129 and would've been 130 if we'd waited 'til mid-July.
Thud_and_Blunder is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.