207 (Reserve) Squadron RAF
40 years on - a surprise for Alan Mawby

Alan writes: On 6 April I celebrated the fortieth anniversary of my first solo flight with the RAF (at Hamble near Southampton in Chipmunk WP871 of Southampton University Air Squadron) by flying a Tucano solo from Linton-on-Ouse. 

I had requested a solo flight that day in the Squadron Ops Diary but only told Greg House (the Flight Commander) and Andy Williams the reason. 

When I got back to the Squadron, Al Dolding met me outside.and ushered me into the QFIs' Crew Room where I was met by Diane and a group of QFIs, a glass of champagne, and an original painting of the Chipmunk and a Tucano which Diane had commissioned from a local artist, Norman Appleton.

Norman is an honorary member of the Officers' Mess and was also present in the Crew Room.  He served as aircrew from 1944 to 1949 and is a member of the Guild of Aviation Artists

It was a total surprise: I had absolutely no idea that Diane had commissioned a painting - and she had even got Norman to put the correct airframe and fleet numbers on the Chipmunk.  Various photos were taken by the Station Photographer; one has already appeared in the Northern Echo and I believe that one will also appear in RAF News. The photos here were taken by Norman.

So far as I know, there are not many of us who are still flying military aircraft productively forty years after our first solo.  I believe that there are a few pilots who are older than me who are flying the civilian Tutors on a part-time basis on Air Experience Flights but there are very few indeed who are still filling a full-time flying appointment.  I also suspect that there are relatively few who have achieved this in the past, as the normal retirement age is 55 and there were relatively few opportunities to serve to 58 or 60, and mostly in ground appointments.  Given the likely reductions in the size of the RAF in future, there probably won't be many more although certain colleagues will match me quite soon.

[Editor: Congratulations Alan and well done Diane and Norman! At the time Alan was 207(R)'s History Officer and Association Liaison Officer. Though since retired, he retains the History role]

Links Norman Appleton fireball - 207(R) Sqn home page - 207 Sqn RAF History

page created 27 Apr 2004, last update 2 Sep 2005