Ian Pavey was a Flight Test Engineer and remembers when Flight Pay was introduced

Engineers would routinely take to the skies in prototype aircraft

It was part of the job but considered high-risk

Ian Pavey was a Flight Test Engineer and Shop Steward for his department

He argued that people who worked in offices did not run the same risks as those who flew in prototype aircraft and won a hard-fought campaign to be given Flight Pay


You got actually paid for flying.

It wasn’t an hourly rate and it didn’t matter if you flew for 10 minutes or every day for a year, everybody got the same amount of flying pay. As I say, I was, for want of a better word, the shop steward for the Flight Test Department for many years and we got the flying pay was for flying. If you flew you got flying pay, and if you didn’t fly, you didn’t. It was as easy as that.

Interviewer: It was a bit like a bonus?

It was a bonus but it didn’t vary, it was a set bonus, it was part of your flying and everybody got the same regardless. It was the same amount of money. I can’t remember exactly what it was, it was about.… it was well worth having but, if you clambered, as I did on one occasion, through the wreckage; clambered out from the wreckage of one of our vehicles, then you thought, yeah, that’s why you get your flying pay! Nobody else has to do that.

I wrote a little poem about it, but I can’t remember what happened to it. I can remember how it started:

I am a flight test engineer, I fly up in the sky,

and as I am flying up there I often wonder why,

I’m not down there upon the ground,

behind a desk all safe and sound.

I can only remember the first bits. I can only sum-up our flying in that I felt much happier in one of our prototype helicopters than in a Jumbo, more control over your destiny than you have when they slam the doors shut on a transatlantic flight.


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