DC-3 Airways Virtual Airline
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0134 Norman Hancock

Norman HancockBorn in Nottingham, England. I joined the Royal Air Force in 1959 as a wireless mechanic and graduated from training in 1961 as a Leading Aircraftsman. Although not aircrew it was during this training that we were given the thrill of "Flight Experience".

This came when we climbed aboard an Avro Anson**, a two-engine, bomber-trainer. After take off we proceeded to terrorise Shropshire, and the Wrekin in particular, for around three-quarters of an hour. Those ex-WW2 pilots quite enjoyed strutting their stuff and I for one was hooked on flying.

While serving in Libya we were allowed one trip home at the taxpayers' expense and the aircraft of the time was the DeHavilland Comet 2, a four-engine jet transport. We departed RAF El-Adem to RAF Luqa, Malta where we had to deliver spare parts for an out-of-service aircraft.

We left Luqa and were over Elba Island, off the west coast of Italy, when the cabin lights went out and an alarm bell started ringing. I was sitting in the crew seats just behind the cockpit so had a grandstand view of events.

The AEO (Air Electronics Officer) wandered into the cabin, removed a panel and started swapping fuses about. The lights came on, the bell stopped ringing, and the AEO returned to the cockpit.  A few minutes passed and it all happened again. But this time the AEO was far more animated.

The panel hit the floor rather faster and, although he quickly cancelled the alarm, the lights stayed out. He muttered some obscure technical terms to the panel, which was unsuccessful, and then he again disappeared into the cockpit. Immediately after that the aircraft turned to port and the pilot announced that due to bad weather at RAF Lyneham we were returning to Malta.

Comet 2We started our descent and began venting excess fuel. The pilot then deployed the airbrakes, which are over the engines on the Comet. It was then that I was treated to a sight I shall never forget ... fuel was swirling back over the wings and into the jet engines! The higher the pilot raised the airbrakes, the more fuel flowed back over the wings, into the engines.

When the AEO came out of the cockpit I caught his attention and pointing to the window I asked him, "Excuse me Sir, is that normal?"; In twenty-three years of service I never saw an officer move quicker than him. He said something along the lines of "Good heavens" and those airbrakes were down before his backside had finished passing through the cockpit door. He never did thank me but we did have three pleasant days in Malta while the aircraft was repaired.

My "flying career" both in the armed forces and in the twenty years since, has taken me to over thirty countries and several times around the world in about twenty aircraft types.

I bought my first PC in 1998 and FS98 came soon afterwards. I worked my way through all the flight tests up to Airline Pilot but couldn't complete that one due to graphics limitations on my PC! I swear that is the reason.

I moved on and began playing with downloaded aircraft, eventually coming across The DC-3 and with it DC-3 Airways. I amassed all the variations of the DC-3 but the one I fly and enjoy the most is the DC-3 Airways flagship complete with the now fully-sorted dual panel.

Away from virtual life and back to real life, I have been married for 36 years, and we have two daughters, both now departed the nest. We also have one gorgeous dog, Harvey. We're not quite sure what breed he is but somewhere between Yorkshire terrier and Collie would be about right.

Other hobbies and sporting interests: - One time swimmer and reasonable water polo player, qualified RNLI life saving instructor, and golf fanatic but somewhat restrained due to the lack of good health in the past couple of years.

(Aircraft photos and the Avro Anson poem inserted by CHW)

12 September 2001


Avro AnsonOh, the Crane may fly much faster
Inside she may be neat,
But to me the draughty Anson
Is very hard to beat.
Her plywood may be warping,
Her window glass may crack,
But when you start out in an Anson.
You know that you'll come back.

Norman passed away 28 December, 2017. While he will absolutely will be missed, he will forever remain a firm and fixed foundation of DC-3 Airways. God speed, Norm.