The title of Mick Patrick’s biography sets the scene for a rollicking good read about a rather varied aviation career. This had a familiar ring to me – my flying career also followed a rather convoluted trajectory, with a late entry to airline flying.
Mick started off in 1960 as an apprentice in the RAF, the spending time on active service in Singapore and Borneo. Here he worked on some typically exotic RAF aircraft, such as Pioneers and Beverleys and, back in the UK on (among others) the famous Lightning.
Upon leaving the RAF he worked as ground engineer and gained his civilian licenses, working on the large four-engine turbo-props and jets. By 1976 he became a flight engineer with Transmeridien Air Cargo, followed by F/E positions with Cyprus Airways, British Caledonian and British Airways. As F/E he became a training engineer and examiner, even becoming involved in accident investigations.
Flying as F/E for the passenger airlines allowed Mick to start flying lessons, using the time on both sides of the Atlantic to gain his Commercial license and instrument rating (gaining a floatplane rating along the way). This, by the way, at the rather advanced ages of 48 for the Comm and 51 for the IF.
He owned and part-owned a few smaller aircraft, and upon retiring from BA was employed to fly a B-200 for an air-ambulance company – thus finally moving to the left seat after years on the ground and in the back- and right seats.
The medical flying led to CRM and Dangerous Goods instruction, while he also added Flight Operations and Maintenance Auditing to his CV. (Being a CRM instructor myself, I was abviously interested in his take on the subject).
Towards the end of his flying career he requalified as simulator instructor and then started a business as self-employed instructor and auditor – which in turn led to auditing work for IATA.
As he says: “It’s been a hell of a ride!” Clearly not always smooth sailing, as a number of failed marriages would attest!
But it is a great read for someone with an interest and passion for aviation, one I would recommend!