John Chandler flew for 66 years. Now grounded, he has turned his love of aviation into a writing career.
The 85-year-old from Bribie Island wrote his book My Flying Career: A Recollection about his time in the sky.
He experienced flying for the first time at the age of 14 and was hooked. He learned to fly in his early 20s and went for a commercial pilot’s licence five years later.
“In those days you had to complete military service and I was called up to the air force. Six-hundred people volunteered for flying training at RAAF Laverton in Victoria, 20 of us were selected and I was one of 15 who graduated,” John said.
“I applied to be a commercial pilot with Qantas, TAA and Ansett. Ansett said ‘yes’ but the starting salary was less than half of what I was earning as a civil engineer.”
John flew extensively for business and pleasure, with his work seeing him fly and co-pilot small aircraft around Australia and the Pacific Islands.
“I used my commercial flying licence as an adjunct to my professional career as a civil engineer and would fly myself as an endorsed user of single and twin-engine aircraft.”
John only stopped flying at 80 after a stroke.
But he recently returned to the sky again thanks to Carinity Home Care Bribie Island.
The organisation organised a day trip to Caboolture Airfield where John took to the skies as a passenger in a light aircraft, for a return flight from Caboolture to Stradbroke Island.
“The joy of being airborne is magic. Flying is still part of my bloodstream,” John said.
He recently donated copies of the book to Bribie Island Library and Bribie Island Seaside Museum.