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Tony Chaplin RIP

Late news, I’m afraid, (I’ve been out of internet coverage for a while), but Tony Chaplin passed away on the 18th of April. Kate has let us know that Tony’s funeral will be at Lincoln Crematorium at 12.30 on 15th May, followed by a gathering at Welbourn Village Hall. For those wishing to correspond with the family, Kate’s address is Long Cottage, 50 The Green, Welbourn, Lincolnshire, LN5 0NJ.

Tony was the boss of IV in 1978/79 and then the Harrier OCU in 1983/4.

I only flew with Tony once. In 1982 he was OC 233 OCU, the Harrier OCU, and I was on the QWI course, and we flew the “freefall giveback dual” ride together. As a Germany pilot, freefall wasn’t a familiar event to me, in fact I’d never done any freefall before the QWI course. We only had four practice bombs – my demo was 150 ft long and I was pretty pleased with that. Tony first bomb was 200 ft long and his second 250 ft over. He was obviously making a mistake that I’d failed to notice. Tony then asked if we could “toss” the last bomb, again, an obvious staff pilot trap that I wasn’t going to fall into, so I said we’d be better nailing the last bomb in freefall.

It was unscorable at 12 o’clock.

All the way back to Wittering and throughout the debrief I was racking my brain to try to discover the deliberate error that Tony had introduced and that I had failed to spot. After my debrief it was Tony’s turn to debrief me: “Great trip, Chris, thanks.”

“But hang on, Boss, what were you doing to make each of your bombs worse than the last?”

“No idea, Chris, sorry, I’ve never done freefall before!”

I think this falls into the “I learned about instructing from that” category…

2 comments to Tony Chaplin RIP

  • Geoff Quick

    Only just got this. Tony was a great boss who really helped pull the RIC in to 4 Squadron when we moved up to Guterlsoh late 76/early 77. He was “Old School” and rarely minced his words. You knew where you were! I last saw Tony in 1984 when I was on Vinten’s stand at Farnborough in 1984. “F*cking QUICK!!” Came the shout from the floor . ‘Hi Boss!, what are you doing these days ?” “Trying to run this lot” pointing at his assembled OCU throng. ‘When I’m sober that is !” “And you?” “Out in Industry Boss, selling Recce systems around the World”. “God help Britain!”

  • Great stuff, Geoff! Love your comments!

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