ACA Woking News by Bill Bawden, PRO

15 July 2008

Training Pakistani Pilots

John Thorburn 2008

P40 on the flight line

The speaker at the recent meeting of the AirCrew Association at Fairoaks Airport was the ACA branch vice-chairman, John Thorburn, who told of his time in the early 1950s as an instructor of pilots of the newly-formed, and then "Royal", Pakistan Air Force.

John was a qualified flying instructor (QFI) with the RAF in Yorkshire when he was released from the service in order to take up a two-year contract as a civilian instructor in Pakistan. At an airfield near Karachi he trained recently-qualified pilots of very variable ability to fly the Hawker Tempest fighter-bomber. This required not only great expertise and nerve when involved in such manoeuvres as flapless and "dead stick" landings, but considerable diplomacy in avoiding awkward situations when dealing with students of a different culture.

Having amused his audience with several anecdotes of his experiences in Pakistan, John briefly touched on his later career as an airline captain and Surrey County Councillor for Camberley.

Veteran pilots with the P40
John Thorburn (R) with some of his students

P40 flies by
John Thorburn (in white) with Tempest course

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