Michael Groves (OB 1957-1964)


          Mike passed away in 2021.   In lieu of a formal obituary, I am sharing highlights from the C.V. he sent for our 60 Years On (2017) that he was, at the last minute, unable to attend:

           “Graduated from London University (QMC) with B.Sc (Eng) in 1967.   I think my top achievement there was being taught to fly with the University of London Air Squadron.

          After graduating I travelled to Perth (Scotland not Australia) where BUA (under the leadership of Freddie Laker) paid for me to be trained as a commercial airline pilot.  At the end of training, BUA was going through financial difficulties and could not employ any of their cadets.

Therefore, I joined Channel Airways as a co-pilot in 1969 flying the de Havilland Heron on domestic and European routes.   After about one year I joined BEA as a trainee Trident pilot and was certified as a Trident co-pilot after about six months training.   It was quite a difference to be flying a large jet which was capable of automatic landing.

In those days BEA and BOAC were state corporations but were merged in 1974 to form British Airways.   Although I enjoyed my years with BEA it felt different after it became BA,  it no longer had that  ‘small company feel’ about it and I was one of that rare breed who resigned.

          For the next year, I flew as a captain on an executive jet which was a marked change from the airline flying that I was used to;   but my yearning to fly airliners got the better of me and I joined Monarch Airlines at Luton to fly the Boeing 707.

          One day I had a mysterious ‘phone call asking me two questions:Would I be interested in flying for a VIP operator in the Middle East, and could I report to the Kensington Hilton Hotel at 0800 the following morning?   Being curious, and maybe adventurous, I said yes to both and duly reported the next day.   To my pleasant surprise I was met by the chief pilot of the Dubai Ruler’s flight and was flown down to Dubai for selection.   Several happy years were spent flying for the Ruling family’s 707, 747(Jumbo), 727 and Falcon.

On returning to the UK I decided that I had had enough of flying, so I spent the twilight of my career as a simulator instructor for Flight Safety and CAE, training pilots on Dassault Falcons.

          Since 2010 I have been retired, living on one of the 7,007 islands of the Philippines. 

When I learn of today’s ‘air rage’, over zealous security checks and buying Marks and Spencer sandwiches on BA,  I can only think how lucky I was to have lived in an era that was just at the very end of the ‘Golden Age of Airline Flying’.”

           Typically self-effacing, Mike quietly omits that he was also Co-Author of a series of Flying Training Manuals, that were the Flying Industry’s primary choice for many years.  

 Submitted by Brian Wainwright OB 1957-1963