Thirty years ago


René Fournier’s life story and ex­cel­lent cre­ations were cel­e­brated by Bernard Chab­bert – his own pref­er­ence be­ing the RF-8, while at the other end of the speed spec­trum, Maxi Gainza achieved his back-seat trip in an Ar­gen­tine Air Force Mi­rage/ Dag­ger. His pi­lot put the jet through its paces, in­clud­ing fly­ing down to al­most zero feet above wa­ter.

The World Aer­o­batic Cham­pi­onships, in Canada, were won by the Amer­i­cans, just ahead of the Rus­sians. Men’s in­di­vid­ual cham­pion, Amer­i­can Henry Haigh, was 63 years old. Sadly, the Brits were well down the or­der.

Re­mem­ber the ITV series ‘Piece of Cake’? Pi­lot got the in­side story on how the aerial se­quences were shot,

in­clud­ing Ray Hanna’s fa­mous flight un­der­neath Win­ston bridge on the river Tees (look it up on Youtube – Ed).

And in 1988, be­fore the next down­turn came along, air­lines were short of pi­lots so a spe­cial fea­ture ex­plained what was needed to be­come a com­mer­cial or ca­reer pi­lot,

how to go about it, and what the re­wards might be. Strange that some of those in­spired by read­ing that ar­ti­cle might now be near­ing re­tire­ment – or be­yond the en­forced re­tire­ment age.

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