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Orpington U3A

Monthly General Meeting at Crofton Halls

18th September 2023, 14:00

Sextant to Satnav, 45 Years in Aviation with a Fear of Heights (Part 2) - Peter Griffiths

Peter started flying in 1967, for BOAC, the forerunner of British Airways. His career spanned the time from "steam driven" aircraft, navigated by map, compass, sextant and a certain amount of hope, to the highly sophisticated aircraft of today, accurate to within a few feet. The Senior Captains he flew with then, had started their careers with Imperial Airways, on flying boats, before World War ll. Their attitude to junior officers was to treat them with indifference, or to ignore them completely, not an attitude that would be allowed today. It was said that, " The difference between God and a BOAC Captain, is that God only thinks he's a BOAC Captain".

He left BOAC as a First Officer and Flight Navigator, joining Cathay Pacific Airways in 1975, based in Hong Kong, where he spent the next 29 years. After leaving Cathay, he flew executive jets until he retired in 2013.

During his time in Cathay, he rose to be Fleet Manager B747, managing 19 aircraft and spent 20 years training and checking other pilots. He evacuated people from China, after the Tiananmen Square massacre and flew a freighter during the First Gulf War.

The talk includes a rich fund of stories, both humorous and serious, about the days of flying before the cockpits became so automated and the foibles of the rich and infamous on their private jets.


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