Radschool Association Magazine - Vol 31

Page 11

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John Laming

John Laming.



John was a pilot with the RAAF from 1951 to 1969 and has recently written a book, titled "Tall Tails of the South Pacific" which deals with his RAAF flying experiences with No 10 Squadron at Townsville (flying the GAF Long Nose Lincoln MR31) and with 34 Sqn VIP as well as other flying postings.


(I recently bought the book and I can heartily recommend it – tb)


The 420 page book, of 32 chapters, includes many photos of his civilian flying career flying Boeing 737's with Air Nauru in the South Pacific.


Long nose Lincolns at Townsville


In 1947, when he was 15 years old, his family migrated from the United Kingdom to Australia. His first job was with the Sydney Morning Herald Flying Services at Camden Airport from 1948 to 1951, where he was a general dogs-body. One of the tasks involved throwing out newspapers from Lockheed Hudsons and a Douglas DC-3 on newspaper delivery flights to outback New South Wales. In 1951 he joined the RAAF as a trainee pilot where he flew a wide variety of types inducing Mustangs, Vampires, Lincolns, Convairs, Viscounts, Dakotas, and the HS748 and spent time as flying instructor at Uranquinty, NSW and Townsville.


School Teacher Arrested 


A public school teacher was arrested today at John F. Kennedy International Airport as he attempted to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a compass, a slide-rule and a calculator.  At a morning press conference, the Attorney General said he believes the man is a member of the notorious Al-Gebra movement.  He did not identify the man, who has been charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction. 'Al-Gebra is a problem for us', the Attorney General said. 'They derive solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in search of absolute values.'  They use secret code names like 'X' and 'Y' and refer to themselves as 'unknowns', but we have determined that they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country. As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, 'There are 3 sides to every triangle'. When asked to comment on the arrest, President Obama said, 'If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, he would have given us more fingers and toes.' White House aides told reporters they could not recall a more intelligent or profound statement by the President.  It is believed that the Nobel Prize for Physics will follow----


His wide experience also led to a tour as an aircraft accident investigator with the RAAF’s Directorate ot flying safety. In 1962, Flight Lieutenant Laming was awarded the Air Force Cross for his services as a Captain, Qualitied Flying Instructor and Instrument Rating Examiner with 10 Squadron flying mostly Lincoln Mk 31 maritime patrol aircraft. After 18 years in the RAAF, he left in 1969 and joined DCA Head Office in Melbourne as an Airways Surveyor. Shortly after that he moved to the Flying Unit at MeIbourne/Essendon Flying DC-3s and F27s on airways calibration duties.


In 1976 he moved on to the commercial aviation world and joined Air Nauru, initially flying the F28 and then the 737-200 on routes throughout the South Pacific. The photo below shows Nauru as it was in 1988, looking east south-east. The airport has a single 5,700ft runway, 12/30, and is served by a VOR/DME and an NDB. The photo shows the view on short final for runway 12, note the T-VASIS and the lack of over-run stopways.


Nauru airport


After 13 years in the tropics, 1989, he left Air Nauru and went to England to fly for Paramount Airways on 737s covering Europe and Middle Eastern routes. When Paramount Airways want out of business, he moved to Hapag-Lloyd where he flew various types of 737s based in Hamburg and operating Europe-wide, to North Africa and to the Middle East.


In 1992 he had no choice but to retire due to the age 60 rule in Europe, and thus returned to Melbourne. There he engaged in General Aviation charter and instructor flying, and also 737 flight simulator work plus consultancy on aircraft accident investigation. With more than 23,500 flying hours, John holds a current ATPL, CASA Delegation for instrument rating tests on the Boeing 737 simulator, and a current Grade 1 instructor rating. He is also an accomplished author with many published articles on a variety of aviation subjects to his name.


The book is called "Tall Tails of The South Pacific," the spelling of "tails" in the title is deliberate.  The book is available on the internet publishing website www.lulu.com. Just follow the various links leading to Books - then Biographies and Memoires and another link called Search by Title or Author.  It costs $20 USD plus postage which is around $6. We ordered it and it cost us in Ozzy dollars $31.67 delivered.


There is another link to order the book HERE and you can read the Preface of the book HERE


Below are some photos from John’s Scrap-book.


SMH Hudson at Camden airport









SMH Flying Services Hudson VH-SMK in 1949 with John, then aged 17, under the wing. This aircraft crashed on 1 January 1950.



RAAF Convair and Winjeel at Canberra airport


The RAAF’s Convair 440  of 34 Sqn and a Winjeel at Canberra 1965.


SMH Hudson at Camden Airport


Hudson VH-SML Camden NSW, Sydney Morning Herald Flying Services. 1949.


WVIP Convair at Canberra airport


Convair 440 at Canberra airport in 1964 with Sir Robert Menzies going aboard.

John was the pilot in command. 


Below is a review of the book


Tall Tails of the South Pacific,

by Captain John Laming, AFC

Reviewed by Macarthur Job, OAM


This highly readable anthology by John Laming reflects his colourful life experiences from schoolboy years in England during WW2, to those of a senior airline pilot, operating Boeing 737s throughout the islands of the Pacific Ocean.


Laming’s name is well known to Australian readers (and indeed to some overseas) as the author of numerous entertaining and instructive aviation magazine articles. Within the aviation industry itself, he is also known today as a simulator instructor par excellence, with a wealth of experience as an international jet pilot, and as a former RAAF pilot and flying instructor on heavy aircraft. He is a fount of that good old-fashioned flying wisdom which, in less politically correct times, was universally known as “airmanship”.Tall tails of the South Pacif book cover


Brought up by relatives in a Kentish village while his father was serving in WW2, he has vivid memories of  British and German aircraft wheeling overhead as they fought out the Battle of Britain, and of accompanying his uncle at various times on Volunteer Air Observer Corps duties in south-eastern England’s lush countryside. These experiences doubtless did much to stimulate a passion for a lifetime involvement with flying.


Migrating to Australia as a teenager after the war, his first job on leaving school was with Herald Flying Services at Camden Airport, southwest of Sydney. A subsidiary of the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper where his father was now a journalist, the company’s function was daily to fly bundles of newspapers to various centres in the State in their ex-RAAF DC-3s and Lockheed Hudsons, dropping them from the air at low level.


The young Laming’s duties included basic maintenance, laying flares along the runway for early morning take-offs in the dark, loading and dispatching aircraft, and other general jobs, including occasional flights. But it was enough to fan the flames of his interest into a burning desire to become a pilot.


Three years later, when he could afford it, he began flying training at Sydney’s Banktown Airport in ex-RAAF Tiger Moths. Several months afterwards, real opportunity knocked when the RAAF began recruiting new aircrew. To his great joy, he was accepted for pilot training. It marked the beginning of a long, and fascinating flying career covering many categories of aircraft – from high performance fighters to heavy bombers, VIP transports, and airline jets.


Tall Tails of the South Pacific offers a highly entertaining cross-section of those varied experiences, often with under-stated humour and a keen understanding of the frailties and quirks of human nature. It also provides a behind-the-scenes look at the diverse human processes and difficulties that despite all, enable the armed services and the airlines to operate seeming efficiently.


For all interested in aircraft and flying, it is a book not to be missed.   



And Speaking of Lincolns……


Kev Rosser sent us this photo, he says “This photo is 43 years old! When Phil Murphy and I arrived at Amberley in 1967, this Lincoln was parked over the other side of the base from the buildings. Phil and I went over there one weekend and crawled through it. I now regret not taking photos of the inside of the aircraft.


Years later I heard that the aircraft had been buried because it was radio active! It apparently had flown through the radio active cloud raised by at least one of the Maralinga atomic bomb, tests. I wonder if this is a furphy! however, the aircraft certainly isn't there any more!


Old Lincoln at Amberley 1967


Ps: I shouldn't have, but I have been talking to Wayne Smith and he reminded me of the time when we made a bomb utilising among other things, an oxygen cylinder, Canberra starting cartridges, an aluminium cigar tube and Susie's cheese grater!


A married couple were on holiday in Jamaica. They were touring around the market-place looking at the goods and such, when they passed a small sandal shop. From inside they heard the shopkeeper with a Jamaican accent say, 'You foreigners! Come in. Come into my humble shop.' So the married couple walked in.


The Jamaican said to them, 'I 'ave some special sandals I tink you would be interested in. Dey makes you wild at sex. 'Well, the wife was really interested in buying the sandals after what the man claimed, but her husband felt he really didn't need them, being the Sex God that he was. The husband asked the man, 'How could sandals make you a sex freak? 'The Jamaican replied, 'Just try dem on Mon.


'Well, the husband, after some badgering from his wife, finally gave in and tried them on. As soon as he slipped them onto his feet, he got this wild look in his eyes, something his wife hadn't seen for ages!! In the blink of an eye, the husband grabbed the Jamaican, bent him over the table, yanked down his pants, ripped down his own pants, and grabbed a firm hold of the Jamaican's thighs. The Jamaican began screaming: 'Hey mon, you got dem on de wrong feet!'



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