What about the chaps?
Steve Slater wrote about the ATA in his April column, and in particular the chaps, but little is ever mentioned of the ATA ground engineers. One such was Peter Charles, who sadly died last year at the age of 93. In his autobiography
Six Feet Over, he recounts how, as a sixteen-year-old trainee motor mechanic, he several times saw a man in an unrecognised uniform in the street in Farnham. Eventually he plucked up courage to ask what uniform it was. The man turned out to be an ATA pilot, and Peter asked if there was an opportunity to work as a mechanic for the ATA. He went for interview and was taken on at the princely sum of £2 10/(£2.50) a week. Thus started a career in aviation that lasted for over fifty years, including 12,000 hours aerial crop spraying.
There must have been many more aviation careers that began with the engineering side of the ATA, and hopefully some time that full story will be told. Keep up the good work with
Pilot magazine. Ian Gawn by email