EUAS John Grant’s Log
I joined in 1955 and was an active member in 1955 and 1956. My first solo was at a snow covered Scone at the Easter 1955 camp and I attended camps at Horsham St Faith and Shawbury (1955 and 1956). My time in the squadron was one of the most demanding and enjoyable periods of my life till then with strong memories of some memorable bumps on circuits and bumps at Shawbury where I was sure every eye on the field was watching! I also recall a couple of late night crossings of the meadows on our way home from squadron dinners! Having studied civil engineering at the Heriot Watt (then College, not University) I declined an offer to spend my National Service in the Pioneer Corps and felt I could not commit for the time required to join the RAF. I then did not fly again until a BA VC10 flight to Nairobi in October 1965.
In Kenya I joined the Aero Club of East Africa. I was delighted to find that my re-familiarisation would be on the two ex-Rhodesian Air Force Chipmunks (5Y KLY and 5Y KLS) which were the trainers owned by the Aero Club. I soon graduated to the club’s Piper Cherokee 140 and 180, both very agreeable aircraft for the kind of flying we did in East Africa, and the club’s Cessnas, 150, 172 and 182. The Cessna 182 became my favourite aeroplane for touring around the fantastic countries of Kenya Uganda and Tanzania. Although the flying there was very different to the experiences of those members who remained in the RAF, my time in the Squadron was the basis for what was a different type of flying experience but one which was totally enjoyable, with its own demands, operating over miles of open country with no navaids – but generally predictable weather. This all led to my holding at one time PPLs for Kenya, Botswana, Greece and UK. Short unpaved field operation was the order of the day and the film ‘Out of Africa’ was very evocative for me.
After returning to the UK I became involved with the flying club at Strathallan and dropping skydivers from their Cessna 206 and a Rheims Rocket owned by Iain Hamilton (of Stone of Scone recovery fame). Time has taken its toll and I now fly the log book as they say – but with wonderful memories.
2 March 2018