Tony Cutting : Captain / Training Captain
Sadly Tony passed, aged 88, in the early hours of New Years Eve 2022.Tony was a great chap to talk to via email and always happy to help. My sincere condolences go out to his family, friends and former colleagues at this sad time.
Tony joined Channel Air bridge in 1960 having done his National Service with the RAF followed by a spell as a development pilot for Decca Navigator flying a vintage Avro 19.
Tony flew the awful B170 (he says "one million rivets flying in formation") followed by the Britannia, BAC111, VC10, Heron (in Sierra Leone), followed by the B707 and the DC10. Did not enjoy the impersonal BA one little bit after a fantastic time in BCAL so I upped sticks, took my pension, and left for pastures new.
He left in 1989 after some 29 years' service and 14 years of which as a training captain. He then did 5 years with GB airways and then a further 5 terrific years with City Flyer flying the ATR42/72 together with among other refugees from BCAL namely John Kelly, Rex Shilton, John Vetch, Denis McQuoid, to mention but a few, all ex-BCAL a great way to round off a wonderful career.
Tony's service was held on Friday 3rd February, 2023 at the Kent & Sussex Crematorium, Tunbridge Wells, Kent
Donations, if desired, may be made in memory of Tony to Aerobility link here
From Una Allman: RIP Tony
From Jean Carlyle-Lyon: One of my favourite Captains in BCAL. So funny and lovely to fly with.
From Vanessa Ridgway van Perlstein: Very sad news
From Denny Gaskell: Oh no. Tony lived really close to me. I’m so so sad to hear this news. May you RIP, dear Tony
From Trevor Tommy Gunn: RIP and Blue Skies Tony.
From Estelle Rousell: Sad news. May you Rest In Peace, Tony
From Kerry Coles: R.I.P. Tony
From Geoffrey Cornwell: A good friend sadly departed. RIP Tony.
From Jenny Holland: Such sad news RIP Tony Cutting
From Pat Gough: I have good memories of Tony on VC10s. RIP.
From Dave O'byrne: So sad, Tony was one of the last pilots in our group that I could discuss flying the Heron with.
From Graham Waters: R.I.P. Tony.
From Derek G Ralph: RIP Tony
From Sally Heron
So sad to hear this - we used to play squash together sometimes down route and home at Crowborough. A good BCAL friend.
From Chris Scott
In 1967, when I was a rookie co-pilot on Herons in Morton Air Services at Gatwick, Tony, in common with Dave Barker, Jim Hopton and Alec "Fergie" Ferguson were S/F/O's in BUA. In Tony's case, on the VC10. Promotion in BUA was very slow in those days, due to lack of fleet expansion. Morton's being in the BUA group, they were offered command practice on our Herons. They were looking for plenty of sectors and, in the September, I did a six-sector day with Tony: Gatwick/Swansea/Exeter/Jersey and return. Remarkably, he let me handle legs 1, 4 & 5 from the L/H seat.
Back in the autumn of 1964, BUA had taken delivery of its first VC10 and was looking for the best and most experienced co-pilots for the fleet. Tony was due to be offered a command on the Viscount, I think, but had been persuaded by management to defer his captaincy in the company interest. Due to the dearth of promotions in the late 1960s, prior to BUA's merger with Caledonian, he was still in the R/H seat of the VC10 when I joined the fleet in 1971. In BCAL, I sometimes encountered him down the route in places like Entebbe, Nairobi or Lagos. Tony was always a sociable and amusing companion, playing as hard as he worked. He kept a book to record and relate jokes, and was renowned for producing it at crew parties or on the crew transport.
On 18/6/1971, Tony was operating part of a South American slip with Captain David ("Flash") Phillips and S/E/O "Jock" McCann from FNA to SCL via EZE. On the second leg, approaching the Mendoza area on the leeward side of the Andes chain, the VC10 abruptly encountered a severe rotor-cum-standing wave and was thrown around uncontrollably for at least five minutes, losing and gaining thousands of feet, with enormous variations of bank and speed. (Later, the FDR was not very revealing and had failed completely after about 3 minutes.) Although the seat belt sign had been turned on previously, several people were hurt, particularly A/H Denby. After its return to Gatwick, the aeroplane was found to have damage to its TPI (trimmable horizontal stabiliser) mounting and was taken out of service. Further investigation by the manufacturer revealed distortion to the wing centre-section. *
Tony got his command on the One Eleven shortly after the Andes incident, and soon became a training captain. In January 1979 - to strike a personal note again - I was under training for my first command on the BAC1-11/200. Tony Cutting, training-S/F/O Bernie Sedgwick and I flew out to Dublin, where I was scheduled to do some flying on the Aer Lingus simulator, starting the following morning. Around 06:45, however, as Tony later related, he took a telephone call from the manager of the Aer Lingus simulators, which went something like this: "Err, hello, is that Captain Cutting?...Afraid I've got some rather bad news about the One Eleven simulator. It's err... [expletive deleted]."
The unserviceability of the sim resulted in a delay of a couple of days in which to kick our heels. Except that we had a hire-car, so were able to explore the Dublin area and a bit beyond. One afternoon, we gravitated to a hotel near Howth Harbour and Tony had me singing "She" as he played the hotel piano. Later, we enjoyed listening to a rather good, big jazz-band that was doing a gig there, and the repartee of its leader. Days later, on our last night in Dublin and with mission accomplished, we had dinner there and a few drinks. I distinctly remember trying unsuccessfully to dissuade Tony from removing a small tree in a very large pot from the hotel lounge area into the garden...
In later years, as is often the case with aircrew, our paths rarely crossed. Tony went to the DC-10 at some point and, presumably, retired in 1989 - about 18 months after British Airways took us over. The last time I met him was ten years ago at the funeral of Captain John Vetch, during which Tony delivered a eulogy.
Tony was a fine aviator and inspirational leader. Thank you and farewell, Captain.
From Richard Friend: How sad. One of the good guys. RIP Skipper.
From Roger Brown: Sad news - very sad news RIP Tony.
From Charles Powell
On and off I knew Tony well over many years. I first met him when he was on a course about the company's development plans during the Bristow years. After that he showed a real interest in the company's progress outside the crew environment and regularly contacted me for a chat. We often met by chance down route and to his crews he always introduced me "as one of the good guys". One of these occasions was a flight, commanded by David Phillips in the middle of winter on a VC10 in the days that the Lusaka service stopped in Tunis, where I joined the flight. The weather forecast for the entire UK was dreadful with high winds and very low cloud and the only realistic alternate for Gatwick was Prestwick. Throughout the flight the forecast Gatwick weather was in and out of limits with almost all UK airports below limits. We did try an approach to Gatwick and the clouds lifted slightly just before we reached the outer marker. We made a perfect landing at LGW!
Later, when he was with GB Airways he was involved with a childrens charity in Gambia. I was then with Air Europe and we operated many flights there. I arranged to carry supplies out there on AE for "his" children.
Thank you, Tony, for many happy crew parties, some great meals together and for all those chats.
From David Heal
I am so sorry to hear that Tony has died. He was a larger than life character and very well respected. I had the pleasure of providing his monthly Flight assignments for many years and new him quite well. He was a great Team Player and will be sorely missed. I send my condolences to his Family.
From Clive Willsdon
Saddened to hear of Tony's passing...a good friend, many memories especially the "international" squash matches vs The Gambia in Banjul on our slips. RIP old mate
From Clare Lidbetter: So sorry to hear this. Lovely man. Condolences to the family
From Anne Maynard: Lovely man. RIP Tony
From Adrian Cherry: Always a pleasure to fly with, a real gentleman R.I.P .
From Lorraine Rogers: So sad to hear this he was such a lovely captain. Fly higher with your new angel wings Tony
From Steve Lack
Very sad news. A good innings. Enjoyed my numerous culinary experiences in Toulouse with Tony when we worked together. RIP
From Esmail Jamal: RIP.. I flew with him at GB Airways
From Mark Hardy
I was a long-haul platelayer (BOAC y’know!) for almost my entire career in BA... and can verify that the BCal spirit of camaraderie mentioned here was (to us anyway) identical with the crews on both BOAC and BEA. Mergers rarely improve the overall spirit of the operation - but I still got an awful lot out of it out of it(!). I now run the ‘Crew Social’ bunch of websites for our crew ...and am probably coming to the end of my time in that direction now too.
However, I received a call from said Tony only a few months ago which went on for some time. It took me a while to realise he had been a ‘Nigel’ with BCal but, at the end of it all, I had an instant flashback to the days when I shared a house in East Grinstead with BOAC boys... who were then then gradually replaced with BCal loons like Pam Varey, Stella Russell, John McGurk whilst socialising with notables such as Mark Johanneson, John Fairclough, Pam Hirst, Jacquie Russell, Rex Morgan, Tony Sim, the girls at ‘The Clappers’ in Crawley and at the Gatwick Aero Club.
Formative, memorable and simply lovely days when we all looked after each other... and above all genuinely ‘cared’ for each other. Tony came across to me during our chat as yet another in a long line of memorable characters to have graced the skies of ‘The Rampant Pussycats’! A pleasure and a privilege Commander.
From Reed Purvis: So sad. So strange to have been chatting with him over Facebook just few days before. Fly high, Tony
From Sarah Hosford: RIP Capt. Cutting. Such a lovely man to fly with. Always fun trips!
From Loz Allan
My sincere condolences to Tony’s close friends and family. I was privileged to fly with Tony on the 1-11 and the DC-10. He was extremely professional and took his flying and training very seriously as an accomplished pilot. But I also have memories of the laughs we had which made the flying fun; as it should be. Tony didn’t just laugh, he erupted with laughter, which was infectious. God bless you Tony.
From Thelma & Walter Riggans
Such sad news, I was only sharing some memories with him a few months back. My condolences to Tony's family. He will be remembered with a great deal of fondness.
If you would like to leave a message in remembrance please drop me a line anytime at BCalatribute@outlook.com
Condolences have been extended by:
Dave Thaxter, Jean Carlyle-Lyon, Jim Will, Dudley Rice, Mike Phillips, Pauline Robertson, Sandra Currie, Elaine Brown, Graham Waters, Sally Simmonds, Ana Eva Heuberger, Jackie Hebert Hayes, Dave Obyrne, Julie Hourigan, Nick Washington-Jones, Sylvia Murphy, Barbara Bell, Tricia Riley, Alayne Elizabeth, Estelle Rousell, Doug Ledingham, Kris Massie, Trevor Tommy Gunn, Phil Benson,
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