Rod retired from display flying in the latter part of 2012 and is now restricted to flying aircraft of less then 2000 kg AUW under his NPPL. In his own words “Old age and sin have finally caught up with me and unfortunately the march of time cannot be ignored,”
During that long career he flew Hawker Hunters and SEPECAT Jaguars during his career in the RAF and was the Hunter display pilot in the early seventies. He also flew aircraft such as the Spitfire, Seafire and Skyraider for organisations like Aircraft Restoration Company at Duxford, Kennet Aviation at North Weald and Rolls Royce. He also instructed on the North American Harvard and the Scottish Aviation Bulldog.
His lecture was light-hearted, yet factual, informative and well illustrated with some fascinating photographs and it covered his flying career in the RAF, especially the Hawker Hunter, from, amongst others Chivenor in the UK and Aden in the Middle East.
There was never a dull moment and those present were enthralled throughout the evening, which took off shortly after 19:30, made a refuelling stop at around 20:40 and turned finals shortly after 22:15. This was the longest lecture we have enjoyed to date, beating our previous longest lecture, by Eric "Winkle" Brown.
I recall seeing Rod display a then recently restored Hunter F6 at the Classic Fighter Show at Cranfield. This show was organised by an acquaintance of mine, Mark Hanna and was normally staged at Duxford, but due to some runway repairs was moved for this year only to Cranfield. That allowed locally based Lightning T5 XS458 owned by Russell Carpenter (http://www.lightningt5.com/) to take part also and what a bonus that was. When Rod arrived at the airfield and had disembarked from the Hunter I spent about 15 minutes in his company talking about the aircraft and display flying in general.
As those that were present at this lecture will have experienced, Rod is a charming, very approachable and engaging chap and his lecture, gauging by the round of applause at the end was a great success, so a big thanks to Rod, who said he would love to come back and do another lecture in the future.
Thanks go to Chris Heath of the Rugby Aviation Group for organising the lecture and to Barry James and the Midland Aviation Museum for hosting the event.
Hon Treasurer Rugby Aviation Group
Rugby, 29 October 2013