David Learmount – a brief aviation history

I learned to fly at the Airways Flying Club, Booker, Buckinghamshire, England where, in 1969/70, I earned my PPL, IMC rating and night rating.

At the time I was learning to fly I was working as cabin crew for British European Airways in Tridents and – occasionally – the Comet 4C (only used for charters by then). This gave me a taste for working with a crew.

Accepted into the RAF in 1970, I trained on Jet Provost Mk3 and Mk5 at RAF Linton on Ouse.

My student time at Linton. I’m in No 77 (outboard ship)

just joining the formation for a run-and-break to land on runway 04

I did my multi-engine training in the Vickers Varsity (I loved the big Bristol Hercules radial piston engines – machines from another era) at RAF Oakington near Cambridge, then on to the Operational Conversion Unit  for the Lockheed C-130K Hercules at RAF Thorney Island, followed by my first operational post as a working copilot on LXX Sqn based at RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus.

Copiloting the Herc on my first tour of duty

We flew all over the Middle East, Far East, and Europe, but our regular task was to resupply operations based in Oman (Masirah, Salalah, Seeb, Nizwa etc), and Iran (Teheran and Mashhad).

Herc in Salalah, Dhofar

Unloading at Salalah, Dhofar Province, Oman

After the failed coup d’etat in Cyprus in 1974 followed by the Turkish invasion of the island, squadrons based at Akrotiri were gradually withdrawn to UK bases, and when flying units were required there they were sent on detachment. LXX withdrew to RAF Lyneham, and I completed my tour of duty there, operating all over the world. In 1976, with my then squadron commander as captain, I did a complete “westabout” via the USA, Honolulu, Wake, Guam, Hong Kong, Singapore, Gan, Masirah, Akrotiri and back to Lyneham.

In 1976 I was posted to the Central Flying School (RAF Cranwell at the time) to train as a Qualified Flying Instructor (QFI), and on graduation returned to RAF Linton on Ouse, but this time as an instructor.

After about two years as a QFI I lost my aircrew medical category because of a mysterious neurological illness, and reckoned I’d better do something else for a living because I didn’t see myself getting my aircrew medical category back again.

I had always dallied with the idea of being a journalist, so I thought I’d try it, and applied to Flight International. In 1979, after 6 months’ probation, they took me on as Air Transport Reporter.

After two years I became the Air Transport Editor, and in the 1990s the new position of Operations and Safety Editor was created for me because it reflected the subject matter for which I was becoming well known in the industry, and to which readers, on the whole, reacted well.

This image, taken in 1985, records one of my favourite events since I began working as an aviation journalist. Airbus let me fly its A300B2 testbed which had been kitted out with a sidestick that was connected, through the FBW computers arrayed in the cabin, to the aircraft’s conventional control surfaces so it flew like the A320 series was going to fly in 1988 when it entered service. My copilot (captain in the right hand seat) was the remarkable Bernard Ziegler.

I left the permanent staff of Flight International/FlightGlobal on 3 May 2015, but still do regular freelance work for them. In parallel with my work for Flight, I had always worked freelance for international news broadcasting media and for documentary channels like Discovery and National Geographic. I still do.

And I am still Flight International/FlightGlobal’s Consulting Editor.

Just a bit of historic context. Aviation is clearly in the blood. My grandfather, Major LW Learmount DSO, MC, Croix de Guerre, RFC, was a military pilot in the Great War.

LW Learmount in RAF uniform 2

He flew many different Royal Flying Corps aircraft types over the Western Front from June 1915 until March 1918, when he was badly wounded in air combat flying a Bristol Fighter. He was commanding officer of No 22 Squadron RFC between January 1917 and March 1918. He continued to serve through the transition of the RFC into the RAF in April 1918, and was demobilised in 1919, returning to his previous career as a businessman.

If you’re interested in what it was like to fly for the RFC at that time, this blog contains a compact nine-episode history called “Leonard’s War”. It takes you through pilot training as it was in 1915, arrival on the Western Front in France, then into the skies on reconnaissance sorties, bombing raids, and airborne “dogfights”. The first episode is here.


PS: Just to clarify – for those whose comments suggest they presume I have been desk-bound since arriving at Flight in 1979 – I do get some proper flying in from time to time.

I have to do that, just to stay up to date with cockpit technology.

Although my medical category still does not allow me to fly solo or in command, I fly all sorts of aircraft, but by law there has to be a captain in the other seat.  Even more regularly I “fly” simulators. The latest sim slot was in a 737 Max at Boeing, Seattle in December 2019, getting to know the MCAS etc.

Boeing 737NG sim at CAE Hoofdorpp

Types I have flown for real since 1979 (always at the manufacturer or with an agency like the FAA, or in privately owned aircraft) include the Airbus A300, A320, A340-600 the Boeing 727-100, 737-500, 777-200, and Bombardier’s Twin Otter and Dash 8 series. And a Supermarine Spitfire Mk 9 (the Boultbee Spirfire)!

Simulators I have spent recent time in include all the current production types from Boeing and Airbus, including the A380. And a few years ago, Concorde!

Airbus A350 FFS at Airbus, Toulouse

I don’t consider myself current in anything, but at least I can talk with – and understand – active line pilots and manufacturers’ test pilots when they tell me about their jobs, the aeroplanes, cockpit equipment, and developing techniques or SOPs.

I spend time with the manufacturers’ test and training pilots while they are developing training programmes for new types or marques that have not even entered service yet.

With airlines that are permitted by law to do this, I am sometimes made supernumerary crew so I can jump-seat on line flights to observe changing SOPs, developments in the best use of automation, and new technology-enabled procedures like GNSS-based approaches.

That’s what my job is: learning from people who do it for a living now so I can write about it.

56 thoughts on “David Learmount – a brief aviation history

  1. Très Impressive Lord Flasheart.
    My career is far less illustrious, alas. Quite a bit in reverse indeed, from Eurocracy-Eurocontrol to aviation F/E and ATP practicality, thankfully. So, the best is upon the horizon, I hope. Still, my Buddist sainted better half, Teru Arima, paternal granddaughter of the illustrious Masafumi -15 years and 2 days apart from departure to arrival- puts me into Learmount perspective.
    That is to say, whenever I am delayed for anything from a rendezvous via roster or Force majeure or both, her stock answer is aptly, “Your delay, is my holiday!”. And she has diagnosed my, not so, mysterious neurological illness as well. It is, like myself, fairly simple. I’m an addictive Learmount reader and occasional correspondent, for better, if not worse.
    Also, I’m an avid voter. And I am off-roster and on-plane to Dublin and train to Cork on Friday May 22 from Brussels to vote Yes to the constitutional referendum on same-sex civil marriage and No to lowering the eligibility age of constitutional president to 21 chronological years from the current 35. That is inviting the possibility, albeit remote possibility, of 16 year-old Scots residents voting for a 21 year-old protest muppet to be president.
    My regret is that the ballot text of this constitutional referendum did not contain my optimal sub-text, “Bunreacht na hÉirean recognizes the equality of civil marriage between same-sex couples and different-species couples”.
    As you noted aptly from our first meeting in Brussels on Nov 23 2006, I am nothing if not perverse in perpetual reverse moving forward. Indeed, you were a pilot first and journalist second. Norman Tebbit, ex-BOAC B-707 1969, was an FT journalist first and pilot second. A man I have had innate admiration for, for 31 years in general. And taking stoic command responsibility in particular.
    I am privileged to be peripherally associated with such retro-reversal company. And Nov 23 2006 was the date of the demise of Alexander Litvinenko via Vlad the Impaler. My wife, sorry, social worker, was herself in the midst of cheomo-therapy then. So far, so good, touching many woodlands. Litvinenko’s doctors described his polonium-210 nuclear attack, as “the worst sunburn you have had from the inside”. So, time flies, memory stands still. Life hands you mysterious lemons ?, make lemonade and fail better. Time flies, memory stands still. Hope springs eternal. And retirement’s longevity is a box in a plot under a headstone. Just ask HM’s opposition ex-leader Ed Milkybland making his epitaph with his Ed Stone before the election. One would have to have a heart of stone not to laugh hard.

    From: TEBBIT, Lord [mailto:TEBBITN@parliament.uk]
    Sent: jeudi 19 mars 2015 19:52
    To: david.connolly@numericable.be
    Subject: FW: St. Paddy’s in Michael Collins Pub in Brussels March 17 2015. It would have been more normal with a Norm. QED!

    Dear Mr Connolly
    Thank you for your email dated 18 March.
    I think I really ought to correct you on one point.
    As I made clear in my memoirs ‘Upwardly Mobile’, published I think in 1990, I had not really intended to be elected in 1970 (the Labour majority at Epping was over 8,000) as I was still only a Senior First Officer and for reasons of both pride and pension, I wanted to be promoted to Captain.
    I had completed all my checks and trips in Command under supervision in the spring of 1970 and was at the top of the seniority list and simply waiting for a vacancy which was expected in the autumn.
    Nonetheless, it was all great fun!
    Lord Tebbit


  2. Hi there David.

    I suppose you must have seen that news about a passenger dying on a Ryanair plane today http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3126315/Mother-two-47-collapsed-died-toilet-Ryanair-flight-plane-wasn-t-carrying-defibrillators.html

    Never mind Ryanair itself : I suppose it could have happened on any short-haul plane. The question is tough, should this be a security issue to be addressed ?

    And could you provide us with an article dealing with this specific issue ?



  3. However unfortunate this event, there won’t be an article on this subject here or in Flightglobal. The reason is that this is a very rare occurrence that is not specifically related to flying. Flying doesn’t cause heart disease or exacerbate its symptoms – if it did we would write an article.

    Defibrillators are carried voluntarily on almost all long-haul flights, but not most short-haul. As the surgeon who attended the lady said, defibrillators are the best chance of getting the heart going again, but they are not guaranteed to work, especially in a case like this one where the event was not witnessed, so a defibrillator would not have been applied until after her husband raised the alarm when she failed to return to her seat. As the Coroner said, “she died of a naturally occurring disease”.

    The Coroner says he will write to the European Aviation Safety Agency urging them to make the carriage of defibrillators compulsory on all flights, but EASA would only make such a rule after examining the statistical chance of cardiac events in flight and the effectiveness of defibrillators in such events on aircraft.

    I hope that helps.



  4. Interestingly enough quite a few airlines do routinely carry defibrillators on shorthaul flights and train their flight attendants in their use. For example Lufthansa and Air Berlin, but as far as i know quite a few more. Training and equipment costs money and yes, a defibrillator does not help in all circumstances. But it is yet another reminder that for some airlines the bottom line always beats passenger safety. Be it by not carrying sophisticated medical equipment, or by not providing flight crews with the normal tools of their trade, like ACARS/Datalink, HF or even a dual battery setup that is usually standard on a 737.

    It just goes to show that one can get away with saving on safety, if it is in an area where the public rarely notices it.


  5. On a totally different subject but still to do with aviation careers. Are you able to write something in support of the Air Cadet Gliding scheme which the Government is about to curtail? And, if so, encourage your readers to sign this petition. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/124333

    I enjoyed an 40 year career flying with BOAC/BA and then working for IATA which was all started through the ATC by gliding and then gaining a RAF Flying Scholarship. I wonder how many others have started this way, not only in the RAF but in all the other branches of aviation.


    • My first solo was in an ATC Sedbergh glider at RAF Tangmere 1970 or 71. I started training on a Saturday and was solo by Sunday afternoon. The thrill of it will be with me forever. Tangmere was decommissioned then as an RAF base and we stayed the night at Thorney Island which was then full of sand coloured Herculese aircraft.


  6. Hey David. There is another David learmount in Carlisle Cumbria with your name!! He is 49 year old and works at cavighan and grays. And would like to get in touch.


  7. Which is when you say: “This is not what it seems. On the contrary, it is a considerable degree worse than that !”…Sounds a bit Nigerian.


  8. David, I have long enjoyed your contribution to public knowledge on aviation safety. Nat Geo programmes are very reassuring that all that can be done to minimise risks is done. Consequently I enjoy every flight every time i get the chance to fly as a a passenger and I love to understand what is happening and why as I hear changes in engine sounds and as various parts of the plane do something, such as lowering flaps with increased revs on finals as I mush down into my seat regretting that this wonderfully exhilarating experience is almost over for now. The drive home is almost always an anticlimax. My first flight was at 8 years old in a Proctor 3 and my best was in the last Comet 4 of Airtours to Vienna on my honeymoon! Thanks for making it all so interesting. Rod


  9. Hello David,

    An interesting career, even if there was ‘an illness enforced u-turn’.

    That was a great shame, as you are/were obviously a hugely capable,
    and enthusiastic pilot/ instructor.

    The reason I looked for your bio, was this….

    I must have watched the research into air crashes on one of the ‘cheap’ T.V. channels,
    and your name came up, probably because of your work with Flight International.

    I think you commented on the work of was it the AAIB, and you sounded very knowledgeable
    with plenty of common sense…

    So I hope your work in that area is rewarding, I imagine saving lives and the work of the
    aircrash investigators must be just that.

    It hopefully must bring you into contact with some very interesting and talented people,
    who share common interests.

    I don’t quite understand why someone hasn’t designed a replacement for the Pitot tubes,
    that seem to ice up when an aircraft flies directly into a storm by mistake, instead of
    steering around it.

    Unfortunately, as an interested layman, my flying has been limited to control line aircraft
    as a youngster!

    Stewart Bliss.


  10. David,

    I have just watched the National Geographic Aircraft Crash Investigation programme,in which you provide some of the expert commentary. I noticed two mistakes which you may wish to pass onto the producers. First of all you said BEA did not have accidents, when in fact a BEA Vanguard crashed in Belgium eight months earlier on 2 October 1971, due to nicotine corrosion of the pressure bulkhead.This lead to the ban on smoking in aircraft. Secondly you were commenting on the affect the Trident PI accident had on sales and the competition from the B727. However the video shows a Tuplev 154, instead of a 727!


    • Thanks for the comment. Do tell them if there are errors, but don’t blame me for the fact that they showed a Tu-154 as a Trident – I don’t have any influence on the imagery they choose to use, and at the time of interview I have not seen any footage they plan to use.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Dear David.

    Just saw your appearance on Unfiltered. Can you recommend any UK medical experts? I had a pulemary edema on flight over to Halifax, Canada in sept.

    I’d also recommend the book Ion Effect written about natural + Ion Winds but also toxic enclosed spaces that have the same effect on a percentage of the population. Interestling Kill Tests have been done on animals and it results in renal and heart failure.

    The first time this happened to me on flight back from Canada, I had an echo cardiogram of 15 then within 3 months back to normal 54. Halifax it was at 14. Waiting on recent echo.




  12. Hi David, I would like to discuss with you the possibility of you speaking at an event, can you contact me please.



  13. No. Any aeroplane can be designed and equipped to be remotely controlled, like model aeroplanes and drones can be. But, for obvious reasons, that’s not a good idea with airliners.


  14. Hello David,
    I have seen you on practically every Air crash investigation episode I have watched, and today, while watching the British Airways 777 accident at Heathrow again, decided to google your name.Hence, I came across this blog. It is nice to knowing more about you, and also your flying background. I am currently a pilot,on the Boeing 737., and I am saluting you at attention right now.

    Best regards.

    Stephen Akinsete


  15. Dear Sir,
    In a recent TV programme about the missing aircraft MH370 in which you took part, it was stated that the plane was ditched. Three weeks after the plane went missing I contacted the Daily Express Newspaper and gave them my theory. In it I said the plane would be flown to the deepest part of the Indian Ocean and make a controlled landing on the water. The pilot would open the doors to equalise water pressure so that the plane would sink the 8000 or so metres without imploding. To me this was a matter on honour. I am not on the internet so have asked a friend to submit this on my behalf.

    G F Bosher.


  16. Hello David,

    I have followed your career with interest over the years, always enjoying your insight into aviation matters.

    Would I be right in saying you edited the LXX magazine whilst in Cyprus?

    Also can you tell me what became of the fiat 500 painted up in squadron colours when LXX returned to the UK?

    Best regards

    Steve Davies


    • Steve, thanks for your kind comments, and yes I revived a dormant Usquam magazine at LXX when I was there in 1973-74. Unfortunately I don’t know what happened to the Fiat 500 though.

      Best, DL


    • Yes, I commented when the journalist rang me at home. The newspaper was going to run the story whether I commented or not, so I gave him a briefing on how augmented crews work and pointed out that this was perfectly safe. I understand why you refer to this as a “rubbish article”, but actually it’s only reacting to the fact that most readers, if they were passengers on the flight, would be confused to see one of the crew fast asleep in the cabin. Now they know it’s safe, so some good has come of it.


  17. Dear David.

    I noted that in a recent news article, you were quoted as saying the practice of cockpit crew resting in the cabin was ‘most unusual’. Just to keep you updated, the practice is not unusual at all. It may not be common place, but it is certainly not unusual. My airline(major airline based out of Hong Kong), for example, has many A330’s configured with no crew rest. These aircraft are constantly doing 7-9 hour flights, through the night, where some rest is mandated. The only option is to rest in a business class seat(or first class in other airlines). Even this isn’t ideal, as the noise from passengers and the meal services normally stop you from getting a decent rest.

    The article in question is regarding a UA flight. While not familiar with all their configurations, you may find that there is no business class as such, so the only option would have been first. Having said that, when we do rest in the cabin, we do try to keep it discreet. Placing his uniform in the way he did was not ideal and can lead to unwarranted publicity such as this.

    Kind regards.



  18. Mr Learmount, after reading some comments it appears you understand the practice of augmented crews and required rest. Apparently Airtravelvlog.com misinterpreted your remarks (“highly unusual”) and turned this into a sensational paparazzi event. In a stand for airline safety, I would request that you publicly clarify your comments with the editor and disassociate yourself from this rubbish outfit.


    • Geoff Yates, no, not Buxton. For my secondary education I went to a boarding school in Warwickshire. My earlier education was all over the world because my father was a career officer in the RN.


  19. Am I reading CAA CAPs correctly which seem to suggest that it is OK to fly model aircraft including helicopters up to 7kg ON an airport, as happens at Solent Airport, when one could be imprisoned for flying a toy drone 1.99 miles FROM the airport.


  20. Hi David, I hope you are well. Thank you for your contribution to the documentaries Aired I enjoy your input.

    I see from the sixty minute documentary on the Boeing 737 max that Boeing can certify their own aircraft engineering. I felt the same about their failures and blinkered take on the MCAS system, reminds me of the Air France disaster in the Atlantic.. surely the same measures should have been carried out to these sensors? Are there not mandatory standards to ensure fail safe measures for influences on manoeuvres during flight.


  21. I worked at BEA/BA for 32 years as the A/P manager WAW. I attended trening in LON , where I met Mr Learmont, Cox, Connoly and others.
    I owed them my happy, long carrier in the Airline. Ten persons in my family were or are connected with the aviation, now I watch the tv air crash investigation program.
    As I often see on tv Mr Learmont,and Mr Cox in them – Best regatds to them!


  22. Dear David

    Reading your comments re MH370 today, I felt compelled to write and share mine (this platform being the only means I have found to contact you):
    17 days after the disappearance of MH370 my husband, Daroish Kraidy, did the same thing in his expertly self-built AcrosportII – he too just disappeared.
    The RCCNZ called off the intensive search after 5 days. Four months later the wreckage of his plane was netted by a trawler by chance off the seabed. My son and I analysed the wreckage – we worked it out.
    2 days before he ‘took off’, he discussed MH370 at length with an old airforce mate and had stated: “Shah found his corridor”. He knew what Shah had done, how he did it and why!
    Having known my husband for nearly 30 years, I have spent many hundreds of hours since his disappearance thinking about the answers to many questions one of which is Why did they do it?

    The answer is simple: Because they knew they could! And they did! The ultimate F—You… Catch me if you can.

    Daroish was also an exceptionally good pilot having competed in 5 World Precision Flying Championships. He was also the most clever and talented person I’ve had the pleasure of knowing; he was my idol. But sadly with that was a complex personality, the darkness of which I was the only person who knew of it, the lightness only seen by others.
    He had been diagnosed with Cyclothymic Disorder so he was between a rock and a hard place. The condition requires medication; take medication and you lose your flying medical, don’t take medication and the condition worsens until you are totally dysfunctional. He was not going to be grounded and mad.
    He had said to me: “This world is not my place”.
    My daughter’s Bipolar I is totally stabilised and she leads a perfectly normal, happy life (after at least ten severe manic episodes and four failed suicide attempts). Had my husband been legally permitted to maintain his flying medical while on medication, he too would be alive, well and totally functional.
    I wrote to the director of flying medicals in NZ. No reply.

    I and my two children continue to miss Daroish daily.

    Kind regards
    Judy Kraidy


  23. Hi..Hope you get to read this…Lots of aeroplane wing,engine failures on your aircraft programmes on sky…I have a possible solution.Please email me if interested in my design. Regards.Peter loft …Hull.


  24. Hi Mr. Learmount,

    Would you be interested in answering some questions on the relationship between automated systems and pilots in the cockpit? We’re preparing a new podcast on AI investigations and in one of the episodes we’ll be looking into whether automation in the cockpit is negatively affecting pilots’ skills. We’d love to get your input on it.



  25. Dear Mr. Learmount,
    I’m Daniela, from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Not an aviation expert by any means, just an enthusiast. I contact you to tell you I’ve been watching plenty of documentaries on this amazing subject and your opinions always help me to learn and comprehend. The amount of knowledge and the clarity in you explanations make us, who are completely ignorant on the matter, understand many of the events and processes that lead to the physical (or magical! haha) fact of humans being able to fly. As a white-knuckle passenger, I tend to remember your words, and your expert explanations, and it helps me to be more relaxed as I happen to recognize that some of the things that scare us, are in fact beneficial and part of the regular day-to-day aircraft performances and reactions. Thanks a lot for sharing your fantastic intelligence and expertise with us, regular people. Of course I wish you the best and hope to find you in good health. Stay safe!
    Best regards,


  26. Hello David
    I have watched many a programme you have featured in and followed for years and having been an aviation enthusiast from a young age I have found your responses into these reports and incidents interesting and educating
    I have seen you a couple of times in Molesey and always wanted to say hello but did not want bother you


  27. Mr Learmount without your interesting knowledge about aviation, I wouldn’t still be watching the AC investigations

    I enjoy every episode that u feature in
    U made me understand a lot of things abt aero planes, i salute u sir


  28. Just watched the AC investigation episode on AirFrance Rio de Janeiro to Paris flight crash into ocean. I really enjoyed your detailed comments on the system failure and pilot error. I am not related to Aviation but even for me it was so interesting to know the specifics of the aviation/flight mnagement. Thank you!


  29. Hi David

    Good to see you’re still closely allied with the aviation world.

    I recently digitised my (brief) RAF flying hours after coming across a JP3a displayed at the Newark Air Museum (XM383). It was the aircraft in which I flew my first jet solo in 1978 and my last JP3a flight before moving on to the JP5 at Church Fenton. Looking through the list of instructors in my log book, I noticed your name appears instructing me in Sept 1978 for several flights at Linton on Ouse.

    I too didn’t make it all the way with the RAF and on leaving worked for the BBC as a Sound Supervisor with BBC Wales. I’m not 100% sure, but it’s possible that a name drop to the duty News Editor in the early 1980s may have resulted in a few approaches to you at that time from BBC Wales News for aviation related comment?

    All the best

    Steve Jones (red hair & freckles)


    • Hi Steve – I remember you! I have a picture of you and some of your fellow studes in front of a JP5 wing at Linton. The photo is marked by being stored against something that transferred print onto it, but it’s not that bad just the same. If you send me an email to david.learmount@ntlworld.com I’ll send you a copy of it. You could help me by naming the others, because I can’t remember all of them.

      You’re right, I flew with you several times in Sept 1978 – indeed on the 25th we flew three trips, the last being a 5min transit Church Fenton – Linton. In fact I also flew with you on the second-last flight I ever did in the RAF, on 6 October 1978. The very last flight was on the same day with PO Knight, whose Christian name I can’t remember. Late that night I suffered an epileptic fit while asleep, and that was the end of RAF flying for me. I had previously had a few “funny turns” while awake, but didn’t know what was happening because I recovered quickly from them.

      Meanwhile BBC Wales hasn’t been in touch with me for a while, but over the years I’ve done lots of stuff for them and will probably do more in the future when aviation gets itself into the news again. What with brexit, Covid, COP26 and the present weird government we have, the subject has been rather eclipsed by other news!

      Don’t forget to email so I can send you the pic – I want to be reminded of all the names!

      Very best, DL


  30. Dear Mr Learmouunt,

    Hello! I’m an American woman with no experience in aviation. However I do enjoy studying British history and am a bit of an Anglophile. I also enjoy watching the aviation documentaries on NatGeo and Wonder. You are always such a joy to listen to. Your extensive expertise on aviation is a true gift to society.

    Currently I teach American History to high school students here in the US and I am also working towards an M. A so I can become an instructor at the collegiate level. As a way to develop better public speaking skills one of my professors suggested that we study people whom we admire. Study their delivery, enunciation, articulation, etc.

    You are one of the people I study because you’re always able to convey information in a very clear and concise manner without confusion.

    I just wanted to let you know that you are a gem and your contributions to public knowledge are much appreciated.

    I hope I make it “across the pond” one day to visit the country where our country gets it’s origins and customs.

    I see in your bio you were a member of the RAF. I am also a veteran of the US military, although my field back then was as a Combat Medic. During training at Lackland and Shepherd AFB’s we saw the C-130s daily. I suppose it was then that my fascination with airplanes was born.

    I’m just curious, have you ever been to the US?

    Finally , I pray that you are still doing well despite your medical problems! You should be very proud of your career and your dedication to informing the public.

    Take care and God bless,

    Michelle in Pennsylvania.


  31. Hi david. Hope you are well. My 23 year old son has always had a passion for flying and has had around 5 lessons in a small single engine plane. He is passionate about being a commercial airline pilot and i would like to know any top tips you may have to help him on his way! I hope you read this and would be great to hear from you!
    All the best, and kind regards!


  32. Dear Mr Learmount,
    I have a family photograph which includes a lady and her dog who may be your grandmother and her dog Pongo. On the back of the photo, in the handwriting of my (then very young) Uncle, she is referred to as ‘Mrs Learmount… The photo was taken by Major Learmount who flew round the world’. If you are interested, please contact me. Kind regards, Prue Stopford


    • Dear Columbyne

      Thank you for getting in touch. I would be delighted to see the photograph!

      Meanwhile please have a look at the story of my grandfather’s time in the RFC during the Great War, here on my blog: https://davidlearmount.com/2021/03/05/leonards-war/

      If you scroll through it, it contains photographs of him and of the young lady who became Mrs Learmount: Ida (known as Peggy) Ball, including how they met and what they did next!

      Let me know how you would prefer to make the photo – or images of it – available to
      me, please.

      Best wishes, David Learmount

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dear Mr Learmount,

        Thank you for the link to your fascinating account of your grandfather’s time in the RFC. I have taken a look, and will do so again and recommend to my family. I am also delighted to have been able to solve some of the mystery of the photograph. I think it must have been taken in about 1918. How the connection between my family and yours was established, I have no idea.

        I can send you copies of the front and back of the photograph, although I am not sure if I should leave my email address on this public site. Can you let me know if there is a way in which I can contact you?

        Best wishes,

        Prue Stopford (Columbyne)


      • Dear Pru

        I am always delighted to learn family history, but I’m aware that what little I know is simply skating on the surface.

        As a means of establishing how the two families had a connection, my grandfather’s family was from Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead, and my grandmother’s parents lived in Muswell Hill, north London. Her father, Albert Ball, was the manager at the Barclays Bank in Leadenhall Street in the heart of the City.

        Please send whatever you have to david.learmount@ntlworld.com. I await it with enthusiasm!

        Best, DL

        Liked by 1 person

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