Alan MacDonald

Wed 31st July 2019 at 12.50 - 13.50

Very new member Alan gave his introductory talk to the Club

A Rotarian will always try to help, “Service above Self” being our worthy motto. Although Alan MacDonald had only just joined the Rotary Club of St Andrews, he readily stood in as guest speaker at short notice. His can-do attitude reflects a military background.

Alan joined the RAF in 1971, working his way up through the ranks. In 1987 he attended Staff College for officer training, leaving the service after forty eventful years with the rank of Wing Commander. He attributes his promotion to his wife’s encouragement to pursue farther qualifications.

Alan’s uncle flew Spitfires. To this day he treasures his uncle’s flying cap and oxygen mask. Indeed, this family connection was a strong influence in choosing a career.

Early on, Alan recalls a flight over potentially hostile territory in a Puma helicopter. There was a loud bang. Had they been hit?  No. A pressurised can of shaving foam had exploded in the hold!

Alan served in Bosnia and Hong Kong. The hardest part was being separated from the family. Over the years he handled every type of aircraft from helicopters to fast jets consuming 1,000 gallons of fuel every 20 minutes.

He remembered when a Nimrod made an emergency landing in the sea. Everyone got off safely. This incident is probably less well known than the time when a passenger plane made a forced landing on the Hudson River.

Aviation safety affects us all. People should never be punished for making mistakes. With a blame culture you can never find out what went wrong, making it harder to find a solution.

David Scott proposed thanks, observing that 25 years at Leuchars had certainly given Alan an enviable golf handicap.

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