Captain David Flett
Sadly David passed away aged 91 years. Our sincere consolences go out to his family, friends and former colleagues. He retired in 1982 after accumulating 25,000 hours over his 42 years flying career.
From Ken Honey
Dave started his civil aviation career in 1945 after being seconded from the RAF to BOAC, joining Number One Line at Whitchurch. The Fleet operated DC-3s on the Africa and Middle East Division. In 1946 he resigned and joined the newly formed British Aviation Services carrying out aircraft ferrying and charter work.
In 1947 India was partitioned and Dave flew the company DC-3 engaged in flying Hindus and Sikhs from Pakistan back to India. The DC-3 and a Bristol Freighter were stripped of seats and all fittings to carry the maximum number of passengers, 67 in a DC-3 and 117 in a Bristol Freighter.
In 1948 after some experimental flying on a DC-3 fitted with a Magnetometer he flew to South Africa on a twenty one month contract. In 1950 Dave returned to a well established Silver City Car ferry operating from Lympne. The B.A.S. company had started operations in at 1948.
1953 saw the start of the second Berlin Air Lift and SCAL Bristol Freighters were based in Berlin. One snowy cold night Dave was approaching Hamburg when weather closed the airport. The only alternative was to return to Berlin with insufficient fuel. Approaching Berlin the Radar went off the air and both engines failed due to fuel starvation. With a full load the gliding capabilities of a Bristol freighter are poor even on a cold night. Breaking cloud at 300 feet he was able to put the aircraft down on a railway track. The story goes that when the German Police found the wreck in very poor visibility Dave was sitting on the wing smoking.
In 1954 the Lympne Car Ferry operation was transferred to the newly built company airfield at Lydd. The airfield was named Ferryfield and in April 1956 the Duke of Edinburgh carried out the official opening, Dave then flew the Duke to Le Touquet allowing him to fly the aircraft en route.
I was also at Whitchurch as a junior apprentice in 1946 but did not meet Dave until ten years later when I joined SCAL in 1956. At that time Dave was the Fleet Manager of the Bristol Freighter Fleet and did some of my training on the aircraft. He demanded high standards at all times which he made very clear from the start. This was a concentrated phase that made a big impression on me; I used this experience as yardstick for many years. I speak for many when I say I received a square deal from Dave.
In 1962 Dave joined the newly formed SCAL Fleet of three Viscounts at Manston, shortly to become BUA with a transfer to Gatwick. This marked the end of SCAL. In 1965 Dave moved to the VC 10 Fleet flying to Africa, South America and the USA.
Caledonian Airways bought BUA in November 1970 and sold the VC10s. Dave like many transferred to the B707 aircraft on the same scheduled routes and also training Kuwaiti pilots on the 707.
In 1976 Dave was awarded the Queens Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air.
Dave was a very proud family man who will be sadly missed by three daughters, Carol, Adrianne, Amanda, son Stewart and their families, including six Grandchildren and one Greatgrandchild.
If you would like to leave a message in remembrance please drop me a line anytime
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Dave Flett with daughter Adrienne at her PhD graduation