( Note: ) 20th Century Aviation Magazine.com welcomes our newest aviation writer from Great Britain. His name is Graham Summers and he, like all of us has a passion for aviation. I shall let him tell you about himself. He will be writing a regular column and his posts will be at least once a week so stand by for some exciting aviation posts from Mr. Summers… (JR Hafer, Publisher)
Hi to everybody,
My name is Graham Summers, and I live in the UK, in a small town, in Oxfordshire, called Didcot.
My aviation background started with my Grandfather and an Uncle and Aunt, who worked for the Gloster Aircraft Company. As a teenager, my father would go up to the test airfield at Moreton Valence, and would be able to gain entrance and watch the day’s proceedings. He ended up getting a flight in both a Meteor and a Javelin. So when I was born aviation was in my blood. I went with my father in 1970 to see the first 747 land at LHR, and although only 4, I remember this huge aircraft!
My reading through to my teens and beyond was both war stories, and, of course, Biggles! When I was 14 I joined the Air Training Corps, which, for US readers, is like the Civil Air Patrol. I stated that my aim was to to shoot as many different weapons and fly in as many different aircraft as possible. I finished as a cadet, at the age of 20 with 147 hours 38 min flying time logged, in somewhere in the region of 20 different types of fixed and rotary winged aircraft.
I carried on as a Civilian Instructor with the ATC for 12 more years, gaining a further 300 hours, approximately, flying time. I also found myself involved with an aircraft museum, and was sort of adopted by a number of aircraft including a Javelin and a Meteor, the two types that my father had flown in.
This also led to being involved in film work, due to the museum owning an old lorry, which we had converted as a representation of a WW2 tanker. This was on the TV series ‘A Piece of Cake’. Our tanker was also used for the film, ‘Memphis Belle’, but I was not involved in that. In the mid 1990s I joined an aviation information company as a Data Analyst. This company maintained a database that tracked the individual histories of every jet and turboprop airliner of 19 seats and above, that has ever been built or ordered. It also tracked the histories of business jets.
Due to my mainly military background, it was felt by my manager that I needed some grounding in Civil aviation matters. So he involved me in the production of the weekly newsletter, along with the various bi-annual reference publications, that we produced, using the data from the database.
My manager, Max Kingsley-Jones moved on to Flight International, where he became the Deputy Editor and Chief Civil Air Transport writer. The next editor, Richard McNeill was only with us for a short time, as he decided to put his degree in aeronautical engineering to good use with Airbus in Toulouse! Again I helped him with various stuff, as obviously Max had trained me.
When Richard McNeill left, it was the turn of Richard Cooper to take the reins. After only a year, he too left, to become the Assistant Editor of Aircraft Illustrated, and later the editor of Combat Aircraft. On his recommendation I took over the job of editor, or Media Co-ordiantor, as the role had become. I did it for two years until, a combination of factors led to a nervous breakdown, which nearly led to incarceration in an asylum!
I moved on, got better and eventually in 2007, joined Midsummer Books, subsidiary company, Aerospace Publishing Ltd, as an Assistant Editor. That job lasted for five years until the company went bust in March 2012. Hopefully, although a bit long, my introduction hasn’t sent you all off to sleep!
I attached a picture for you, my looking rather red due to the 30c plus degrees temperature, at Berlin’s German Air Force Museum at the former RAF station at Gatow.