In this remarkable true story, set in the era of the last days of the great British airliner, the Vickers Viscount, Jim Rider follows the bizarre circumstances that caused a routine flight from Santander to the UK to end in near disaster in a farmer’s field in Devon.
Meticulously researched and full of lively detail the Viscount’s final flight is re-created and set in the context of the lives of those who were there at the time, along with a cast of characters with whom you can share the fateful final journey of G-ARBY, late on a summer’s evening.
From the heart-stopping moment of realisation that the plane was not going to reach Exeter Airport you will be in the cockpit with Geoff Whittaker – the pilot whose job it was to do the near impossible – on the ground with witnesses, staring skyward at this strange glider, and alongside the terrified passengers in the cabin, every one of them looking death in the face.
The story covers events before and after the day of the forced-landing on July 17th 1980, bringing to life the impact of a high profile event of national significance on the lives of local people caught up in the drama. With an agile mix of wit and sympathetic reportage, supported by fascinating pictures, grid references and detailed diagrams, he captures perfectly the drama of those few days nearly forty years ago that saw the end of one of the last Viscounts, arguably the greatest of the great British airliners. A `must read’ for aviation history enthusiasts.
Jim Rider has lived in Hointon, Devon with his wife since 1987. A graduate of the Royal Academy of Music’s Advanced International Conductor’s course he has toured widely and has conducted at the Royal Albert Hall and the Festival Hall. He served in the Royal Marines for many years as Director of Music as well as holding the appointment as the Queen’s Director of Music in HM Royal Yacht, Britannia. Jim was the Government’s Chief Advisor on Music Training in the Armed Forces and devised all the training systems for a proposed Defence Music School. In 1994 he set up his own business in the South West area as a school music education service provider for 60 schools with more than 800 pupils at peak. This was a successful venture, which he later sold. Jim is now retired.