ABOUT FLY BOY
Author: Geoff Litchfield
FLY BOY - A must read for every aspiring pilot!
Geoff Litchfield is now an avid Flying Member of HDFC. Born in Glen Innes, NSW and terminating his formal education at Tamworth, NSW high school, Geoff found his life's niche in aviation circles after brief employment by the Commonwealth Bank.
Attracted by the exciting evolution of aircraft development during and after the Second World War, he finally succumbed to suppressed urges, joining the Fleet Air Arm in 1952. Flying training with the RAAF, Royal Navy, Airworks (UK), RAF and RAN exposed him to nine aircraft types including the high performance Supermarine Seafire Mk.XVII and Hawker Sea Fury FBII. Conversion to de Havilland Vampire, Sea Venom and Gloster Meteor NF.II ensued.
The peaceful interlude between conflicts in Korea and Vietnam failed to arrest a string of mishaps, as 22 compatriots lost their lives.
Surviving 350 day and night deck landings/205 catapult launches, operating from carriers HMS 'Illustrious' and 'Bulwark' - HMAS 'Sydney' and 'Melbourne', as a fighter pilot, disaster was ever a hairsbreadth away.
Near collisions included those seaborne, as HMAS 'Quiberon' marginally escaped being bisected by the bows of carrer 'Melbourne' on night exercises while he was embarked.
Political decision forced his career re-assessment, and he joined the ranks of pilots with Trans-Australia Airlines in 1960. Nearly 30 years of airline flying followed in DC-3's, F-27's, Lockheed Electras, DC-9's, B727's and finally the Airbus A-300-B4. Duties included secondment to the Bureau of Mineral Resources, to New Guinea for domestic and international air services, supervisory positions in the check and training area, and a brief period in aircrew administration. A ferry flight from Miami came near to disaster. Subsequent early retirement resulted due to the 1989 airline dispute.
My eldest son, Michael has encouraged me to detail my fascinating and intriguing experiences as a country boy to Navy fleet air arm pilot to airline pilot for 30 years.
I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I had writing it.
Geoff's book is a beauty! Chapter 37 - Reflections are amazing and although 17 years my senior, I am sure you will agree it has a familiar theme to many of our conversations on today's world!
The Airline Pilot's dispute also extremely interesting! What about that drunken flea Hawke poking his tongue out at the Pilots at the TAA picket line!
Wish I had been able to carve our a career like Geoff's in aviation but the 182 is nevertheless a great consultation for me and Geoff's life. Makes me realise that nearly everybody sufferes from some form of adversity in their respective lives!
It's a double whammy for the likes of us - on flying and life particularly on the paradox of human nature!
The nostalgia for me reading Geoff's early memories of Tamworth is wonderful! I think my mum was about 16 when the Tiger Moth crashed nose first into the street about a block from her home in William St, West Tamworth, killing the pilot instantly! Didn't know that G for George the famous Lancaster had come to Tamworth in 1945 just two years before I cam into the world!
Thank you so much for introducing me to Geoff!
- David Mitchell (a new fan)