As I decided to go into civvy street I managed to get a job with Gander Dower Airways at Newcastle on Tyne as a ground engineer in charge of a De Havilland 86B. This was a four engined aircraft and was flying in the summer across 400 miles of sea to Stavanger in Norway and back to Newcastle. I carried out a complete Certificate of Airworthiness overhaul on the aircraft and, with only one qualified 'A' license engineer, managed to complete it in time for the summer service (starting in about June). I managed to get a number of trips in across the North Sea to Stavanger. In fact I was on the first one of that season, when the mayor of Stavanger gave a dinner in a beautiful hotel called the Sola Strand. After that I managed to get a number of flights across to Stavanger as second pilot. I didn't do any take-offs or landings. In fact, Eric Starling was the captain and he was fully qualified and would not allow me to do other than straight forward flying and keep on course and height.

The above image is from the collection of Michael Dawes.
The relevant site may be accessed by clicking on the image.

DeHavilland 86B

I carried out a complete overhall for Renewal of
Certificate of Airworthiness as 'Chief Engineer' to
Allied Airways at Newcastle-on-Tyne (Woolsington)
and flew as 2nd Pilot on a number of trips to Stavanger
(Norway) that summer.

Eric Starling - Chief Pilot, Allied Airways 1938-39

I took this picture halfway across the North Sea
to Stavanger.

Read an e-mail received from Eric Starling's grandson on 15 September, 2001

At the end of the summer season I was looking after some other aircraft (the DH89 and DH84) and a Puss Moth which I had been requested to fly at weekends on Army Co-operation for the Army. At the beginning of 1939 I was invited to become a flying instructor with the Newcastle Aero Club (Read Local News Report) and decided that it was time that I looked round for a place to live and get married. I found a bungalow quite close to the aerodrome but my wife still wanted to live nearer her mother so I applied for a Flying Instructor's post with the Elementary Flying Training School at Gravesend, Kent., and was accepted after a successful test at R.A.F. Little Rissington 'Central Flying School'. We then decided to purchase a new house near the aerodrome, and moved in. Things went very well until the end of the year, when war was declared on the 3rd day of September, 1939.

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