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Up and Away: Memoirs of a Pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force 1950–1981

  • Published: 20 June 1998
  • Author: John Jacobs
  • Price: NOT FOR SALE
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From a multitude of wartime stories and exploits, the image of a RAAF pilot emerges as a flamboyant adventurer sporting a bristling moustache, a silk scarf knotted casually at his throat and a map tucked carelessly into his flying boot.

If this portrayal were the slightest bit representative of wartime aircrew, the image changed significantly in post-war years when the RAAF gradually re-established as a peacetime force, equipping with jet aircraft, training for possible involvement in the Cold War, and developing a sense of professionalism within its ranks.

This story tells of the experiences of a pilot who joined the RAAF in 1950 to learn to fly on Tiger Moths, retiring 31 years later as an Air Commodore. Like most aircrew making a career in the Australian Defence Forces, he experienced a frequency and variety of postings to numerous squadrons, as well as the obligatory administrative and staff appointments expected of senior ranks.

In these memoirs John Jacobs tells of his adventures and thrilling episodes flying in jet aircraft, his experiences living in three foreign countries for seven years, and his occasionally frustrating 'desk jobs'. As well as being a career officer involved in all facets of a peacetime Air Force, he was also the bread-winner and father of a large family, all of whom were subjected to frequent postings and domestic upheavals which fortunately provided a broader education to offset the stresses of packing up and moving away.

For a reader ignorant of the lifestyle of servicemen in the Armed Forces, this is a surprising revelation of the sort of exciting and challenging career open to RAAF aircrew in the few decades immediately post-war.