226th Review Flight from the Croft- Bill Innes
In Dutch croft means small farm. Well the contents of this book do not cover the title however what the author wants to tell us: were ever you originated from there is no limit in what you can achieve. In this book he is telling us his impressive life story of an airline pilot. Raised in a croft he found his way up despite the lack of financial resources and after seeing a Spitfire in flight he decided to become a pilot. Bill Innes successfully applied for a pilot training in the RAF and after receiving his wings he became a co-pilot flying the Hastings, a four engine transport plane. By then his path as airline pilot was outlined. After leaving the RAF he applied for a job with BEA flying Dakota’s in the difficult and challenging English weather becoming more and more acquainted with the sometimes incomprehensible decisions of the airline management and the various characters of his captains. By then his career moved up flying the Heron, Viscount, Comet, Vanguard, Trident, Boeing 757 and 767 meanwhile also becoming member of a flying club practicing aerobatics. An impressive career in the aviation world!
What makes this book so special? Bill Innes writes with an healthy doses of humour and throughout the book he is telling his experiences in a typical undercooled English language (or Scottish) about his adventures in and outside the cockpit. Well adventures is not the right saying. You as reader gets a good picture of how the system in an airline pilot’s career works. Sometimes unpredictable, sometimes exciting, tension in the cockpit during difficult weather conditions and besides all a lot of training and examinations. Decisions to make that makes you a hero in the eyes of the passengers but can also finish your career unexpected. Your working times are very variable and hotels are your home.
What makes it also interesting reading this book is the fact that of each type he is flying on he tells us about the typical characteristics and handling of that specific plane and the problems he encounters to get acquainted with the type. He does not spare himself and it becomes clear that the road to receive the rating as a qualified cockpit member is not easy and full of unexpected events. Amusing anecdotes are exchanged by technicalities and various eventful cockpit situations due to weather or malfunctions.
Bill is a good story teller and I have read with fascination about what is going on in the airline pilot’s career not only in flight training but also in the social behaviour with the cockpit members and cabin crew. After leaving British Airways he becomes also trainer and examiner on the 757 and 767 working for different airlines flying around the world were his confrontations with the local and national authorities are covering a fun part of the book.
A soft cover book with 214 pages that keeps you reading and containing a lot of black and white photos and nice colour pictures from his personal archive. Fun and fascinating to read.