"Thanks to his son we learnt the sad news of the death of our President Air Commodore Pat King
, yesterday Sunday 8th November 2015 in hospital after a short illness. He was aged 80." As a result of this sad announcement of the passing of Pat
we recived the following contribution from Cpl Jim Attrill, Retd.
Squadron Leader King
was a flight commander on 4 Sqn
Wildenrath at the same time as I was a J/T
and later Cpl engine fitter. He was older than just about all the other pilots and even wore glasses sometimes when nobody was looking. He was without a doubt my favourite pilot and a lovely man. I always used to strap him in if I was around when he flew. I shall tell two stories about him. The first is that we had a LAC
armourer who was not interested in the SAC
trade test but was studying for O levels. It was impossible to study in our barrack block as it was full of guys playing Led Zeppelin flat out or other noisy stuff, especially after the Malcolm club closed! He lent this erk the use of his office to study in after hours. It was a bit of a secret amongst us.
Whenever we went away on exercises in tents etc 'somewhere in Germany' each aircraft normally had their own crew and I made sure that I was the fitter on his aircraft which was normally XV781, a nice aircraft. Ok, so one day he arrives, straps in and pushes the starter button. To those who don't know the Harrier it had a ROTAX gas turbine APU
/Starter which would wind up and then start the main engine itself before shutting itself down. IIRC the starter gave about 50 bhp
out of a tiny turbine that went round at about 80,000 rpm. So the starter winds up, the engine winds up but there is no go except for fuel running out of the exhausts. The igniters did not do their usual 'crack crack' thing. I had a chat to him and we tried it again with the same result. I then suggested to him that either he gives up and we snag the aircraft or he could try pressing the relight switch to start the engine. For some reason this was streng verboten although I could not see why and I knew that engine very well. So he tried again and off went the engine no problem. We used this method to start the engine for the next couple of days. Nothing was said, no 'green lines' in the F700
or anything like that. Not allowed as it was 'illegal'.
Then one day a newbie pilot arrives - you know the type - the Fg/Off who knows it all. I did ask him if he knew how to start this aircraft and he gave me the usual "as I'm a pilot I am GOD and know how to start an engine." So I let him fail a couple of times. He went off in a huff to snag the aircraft. About an hour later Pat King
arrives and we do our normal thing with smiles all round and not a word said. This is the only time I ever came across an aircraft being 'unsnagged'. Anyway, we were supposed to be at war or something like that. I would like to have been a fly against the wall to hear what he said to the other pilot.
One last one - we had been doing HE
ADEN firing and I asked him what it was like to do that. He said "better than a burst on the banjo".
I saw him later when I was sort-of JNCO I/C
the line at 233 OCU
and he was not pleased that I was buying myself out. Unfortunately I could not explain my reasons for that. I heard later that he was the Air Commode i/c
all Harriers before he retired. A great man RIP.