In this entertaining autobiographical account, Steve Masters looks back on his eventful 30+ years as a pilot with the Royal Air Force and subsequently as a commercial airline pilot with British Airways.
Steve first became interested in flying at a young age and learned to fly gliders when still at school, as a member of the Air Training Corps (ATC).
He joined the RAF in 1980 and after undergoing officer and pilot training was posted to RAF Lyneham to join a squadron equipped with the mighty Lockheed C-130 Hercules, affectionately known as ‘Fat Albert’. Steve was to fly this versatile aircraft for the rest of his RAF career, clocking up over 5,000 flying hours and ultimately attaining a prestigious ‘A’ Rating as a Hercules pilot.
Steve’s duties in the Hercules took him to many places, including the Falkland Islands (1985-7) in an air-to-air refuelling role and Iraq during Operations Granby (1990)and Desert Storm (1991), flying in support of frontline forces.
Another highlight of his RAF career was a three-year detachment (1992-5)to the USA to serve with 50th Airlift Squadron based at Little Rock AFB, Arkansas (the USAF’s biggest C-130 air base) where he was to hone his flying skills in friendly competition with the best pilots in the USAF.
But his flying days were not all fun and games by any means. A serious injury almost ended his flying career before it had begun and he was lucky to survive a later mid-air collision.
Steve left the RAF with the rank of Squadron Leader in 1998 and joined British Airways to re-train as an airline pilot, flying the Boeing 757, 767 and 777 twin-engine jet airliner to various destinations worldwide.
At the time of publication (2013) Steve is still flying for BA, having clocked up well in excess of 10,000 flying hours.
His recollections of his eventful life in flying will, of course, be of particular interest to fellow aviators and aviation enthusiasts but they contain plenty to entertain and inform readers of all ages and persuasions.
The cover picture shows the author on the flight deck of a British Airways 767 during a morning flight from London Heathrow to Nice in the South of France.