At 15, Ken was indentured to Qantas at Mascot for five years as an aircraft mechanic, continuing with training to become a LAME (Licenced Aircraft Maintenance Engineer).
Towards the end of his apprenticeship, he commenced flight training at Kingsford Smith flight school at Bankstown and after 100 flight hours was very fortunate to be awarded one of the first Commonwealth flying scholarships which enabled him to continue on to qualify for a Commercial flight licence, as well as studying — the result of which was more night school.
Offered a job with Ansett Airlines to train as a DC3 Co-pilot, he moved to Melbourne and was a FO (First Officer) for about nine years before becoming a Captain on the Fokker Friendship.
Over the next 17 years he flew many different types of airliner which included the good luck to be seconded to Air Vanuatu, Air Polynesia, and Ansett NZ. He was very involved in training and checking company pilots, until 1989 when the infamous industrial dispute arose between the pilots’ union and the Hawke government. It didn’t end well for either Australia or the industry, but it became obvious to him that he should leave Australia – he says, for Australia’s good as well as his.
Singapore Airlines was expanding rapidly at the time but with a whole new fleet of aircraft, they had no idea how they were going to crew them, so were very pleased to be able to recruit a large batch of very experienced pilots from Australia.
In Singapore, he flew the Airbus A310 on mainly regional routes and was involved in mentoring and training their junior pilots that were being trained to eventually take over from expat pilots.
He was then promoted to ‘the wonderful B747-400’, flying literally to the four corners of the earth.
Aged 60, he reached the mandatory retirement age, so after 45 years in the airline industry, he and his wife, Jenny, returned to Melbourne.
Ken has four middle-aged children and seven grandchildren with another one on the way and enjoys gym, U3A, Probus, golf (played badly) bridge, bike rides, whisky, and most importantly, friends and family.
He is a regular with the Probus bike group.