681675 - DAVE (Ginge) ASHENDEN - 82nd Entry- ENGINE FITTER
RAF APPRENTICES - RAF HALTON No 1S of TT - Jan 1956 - Dec 1958
Attained the rank of Leading Aircraft Apprentice. Played rugby - representing Wing and the Station
1959 - 1962: Posted to Lyneham - working on Comet 2 airliners - the only organisation in the world flying jet - powered transports at that time!
1962 - 1964: Posted to Nairobi (Eastleigh) Kenya working on Beverley and Twin Pioneer aircraft (dream posting!)
1964 - 1969 : posted back to Lyneham - Transport Command working on Britannia and Comet 4 aircraft - lot of traveling around the world at her Majesties expense!. Sat and passed the exam for Associate Fellowship of the Society of Licensed Aircraft Engineers and Technologists (AFSLAET - subsequently becoming AMRAeS ). Member of the team representing the RAF at annual UK National Model Aircraft Championships.
1969 - 1970 : posted to Sharjah ( Persian Gulf ) - working on Wessex 2 aircraft.
1970 - 1980: Volunteered and accepted for a tour at the Central Servicing Development Establishment (CSDE) at Swanton Morley working as an Engine and Aircraft Fuel Systems Specialist. Involved with many different facets of aircraft engineering and industry (that is why I wanted the job in the first place!). Became one of a team of RAF specialists monitoring the modification program at BAe Woodford that converted Victor B2 bombers into K Mk 2 Tankers. This introduced me to a world of Air - to Air Refuelling (AAR) This in turn put me in contact with Flight Refuelling Ltd (FRL) at Wimborne in Dorset.
Interesting diversion in 1977; as a Chief Technician I suddenly found myself in charge of a fire station at Buxton in Derbyshire heading a team of 28 guys and 3 "Green Goddesses " Great man management experience!
: On leaving the RAF, FRL offered me a position as a support specialist. Heavily
involved with the introduction of the VC10 Tankers into RAF service. Within 3
years promoted to position of Manager-, Logistics Support, responsible for the
development of maintenance policy and the associated support equipment for new
AAR equipments. This coincided with the demise of MOD Cost - Plus contracts and
I subsequently became involved with the introduction of new AAR equipment
into service with the USAF and other overseas air forces. With FRL working in
the sub- contractor role to Douglas, Boeing,
and Lockheed aircraft companies I spent a fair bit of my time in the US on
My long standing hobby of building and flying radio controlled (R/C) model aircraft led to a short but interesting diversion to my career at FRL in the early 80`s The company was involved in the design and development of target aircraft and unmanned air vehicles (UAV`s). As an experienced RC model pilot I was invited to fly the prototype of the Phoenix UAV. I did this for the first 6 months of the program and thus became one the very few people to fly a military UAV in the UK.
Another high light of my time with FRL was in May 1982 when I was whisked by RAF Puma to Waddington and was able to successfully resolve a serious in-flight refuelling problem being experienced by the Vulcan aircraft; then being prepared to subsequently perform the famous `Black Buck` bombing raids on the Falklands.
Sept 2003: Took an early and much enjoyed retirement - best decision Iíve ever made in 50 years.