What about the chaps?

Pilot - - AIRMAIL -

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

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