Viv first learned to fly on an RAF Flying Scholarship, going solo in a Tiger Moth within a fortnight of his 17th birthday. This was at Fairoaks in 1958, then a grass aerodrome with no radio facilities. On leaving school he took one of the 42 places offered at the College of Air Training, Hamble when it opened in 1960.
After graduating from the College in 1962, Viv joined British European Airways at London as a co-pilot flying first the Vanguard and later the Hawker Siddeley Trident, then the fastest civil passenger aeroplane in the world.
In 1970, he was promoted to Captain (the first ex-Hamble Captain in the Corporations) and posted to Glasgow where he spent three very rewarding years flying the Heron, including the Scottish Air Ambulance service. Many flights were to Barra in the Outer Hebrides where the aircraft landed on the beach – provided the tide was out! A conversion to Viscounts followed and shortly after this Viv became a Training Captain and was subsequently one of the team, which introduced the HS748 aircraft into, what was by now, British Airways.
1977 saw him posted back to London and again flying Tridents including, in his last years, a number of engine-out ferry flights (without passengers, he hastens to add!).
With the demise of the Trident in late 1985, he needed to find something faster to fly and so became a Concorde Captain. He flew Concorde for 11 years and during this time flew the aeroplane in a number of air displays and took part in a Round the World air cruise.
Viv retired from British Airways in September 1996 and subsequently spent two years, part time, flying a King-Air for CEGA Air Ambulance. He now flies a Seneca purely for pleasure and especially enjoys flying aerobatics in a Chipmunk.
For much of his career Viv was a member of the Technical Section of the British Air Line Pilots Association and served on several CAA and other industry committees. He is a Liveryman of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators, a Master Air Pilot and a Member of the Royal Aeronautical Society.
Away from flying, he is involved in a number of activities in his local community in Ascot such as the Residents' Association, the Parish Council, the Church Choir and was a school governor for many years.
After living in Farnborough for a short time with his wife, Elizabeth, they now live in Odiham. Much time is spent working on the house, the garden, and with the seven children and six grandchildren that they have between them. Otherwise, when he is not flying, he can be found narrow boating at a mind bending 4m.p.h.!
Information provided by Captain Vivian Gunton