African Pilot

BOB ALLISON

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Born in England in 1937, Bob started his ATC career at RAF Northolt and became an air traffic controller at Heathrow after leaving the RAF in the early 60´s. In 1966 he joined Serco IAL contract ATC company and was posted to Libya. He worked ATC at Tripoli until 1969. He was on night watch when Gaddafi took over in the revolution and arrived home the next afternoon under armed guard. Bob left Libya a few months later to return to the UK and the was posted to Zambia in 1970 during which time he talked to pilots coming up from South Africa telling him what a great place it was. In 1972 he left IAL, moved to South Africa (Benoni) and started working ATC at Jan Smuts (at that time) where he stayed until IAL made him an offer he could not refuse in 1980. He moved to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, but after a year he and his wife Daphne missed South Africa too much and returned to Benoni but he did not get back into ATC until after he retired when he started air traffic control at the occasional fly-ins and airshows. He was also on the air spaces committee.

Bob took up gliding at Donaldson Dam and then at Orient airfield when Donaldson closed where he spent many years gliding almost every Saturday. He was also a gliding instructor when he was 79 at which time, he had to stop due to Myeloma. He maintained his avid interest in aviation right up until his last days and loved telling stories from the old days and passing on knowledge of ATC. Bob even got around to writing an autobiogra­phy called ‘High as a Kite’ which is available on Amazon. Bob may your soul rest in peace in that great Air Traffic Control Tower in the heavens.

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