Adrian's 50 years in Blue RAF

Thu, Sep 2nd 2021 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

A quick resume of Adrian's flying and voluntary instructing career with the RAF

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2nd September 2021 50 Years in Blue – Adrian Cresswell

Adrian retired from the RAF in June when he reached 65 and he was inspired to become a pilot by his Dad, who had been in the Berlin Airlift Association when doing his National Service in 1948.  His Dad became a coal miner living in Hucknall close to the Rolls Royce Test Division with the ‘Flying Bedstead’, but what really motivated him was the Vulcan, so he joined the Air Cadets circa 1970 getting to fly gliders at 16 years old and achieving his Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award and position of Sergeant. Subsequently he applied for a Flying Scholarship & went to Biggin Hill for various aptitude tests, which he passed becoming the youngest in the Country and in the 100 out of 2000 applicants.

This was followed by 3 years at University and the University Air Squad with formation flying in a Bulldog Trainer, 11 out of 12 parachute jumps, lightening fighter, Harrier Jump Jets, which took him on to Cranwell and the Jet Provost. He completed a course at North Luffenham on ‘the side effects of flying’, covering the effects of hypoxia and using a decompression chamber.  He was lucky enough to fly a Tiger Moth and in Anglesey fly the Hawk (which the Red Arrows fly).  Then his graduation, where he came top of the course of 12, which was covered by the Evening Post (a theme that occurs throughout his career!)

He was posted to Scotland completing 450mph low level navigation, shooting.  Then came a new aircraft the Jaguar, a single seater, low level fighter (250 ft. in UK & Germany, 100 Scotland and 50 ft. over the Sea.

He was then posted to RAF Bruggen in Germany, a War Zone, where they had to wear sweaty helmets, life jackets, and ‘g’ suits for low level night flying, sometime practiced over Motorways. They had a ‘Nuclear’ role, with 5 minute launch requirement and carrying bombs that were 10 times as powerful as that used in Hiroshima!  There were Winter Survival Courses to complete, including ‘Interrogation’ testing, Tactical training course, Gulf War training and his posting lasted 3 years before moving to RAF Coltishall, Norfolk, for another 3 years in 6 squadron (NATO deployment). Here they practiced air to air refuelling, with a spell in Gibraltar with Jaguars.  To celebrate the squadron’s 75th Birthday a Red Arrows flyover was organised and King Hussein of Jordan was invited… and turned up!

Then to Cranwell as a n Instructor with a promise of Squadron Leader, providing he signed for a further 10 years, but he declined and joined British Airways, but continued his volunteering roles flying cadets with his crew Denis.  Between them the oldest RAF crew at combined age of 63 + 77 and most flying hours (25 000 + 12 000) and what a team for which they received the Queens Award for Voluntary Service.

What a career and what a man that Rotary have been fortunate to have the services of.

President Gordon gave a glowing vote of thanks following a number of questions that Adrian fielded expertly…. and members joined with a show of their appreciation.                         AR

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