We regret to announce that Mike McKinley of 81 Entry (B Sqn) passed away on the 14thSeptember 2022.
Mike was born in October 1941 in Dumfries where his father was flying Sunderlands; his grandfather and three uncles were also pilots. After attending St Edward’s School in Oxford, he entered the RAF College in 1959. He played rugby for the College and won a prize for rowing.
Mike graduated in 1962 and, after Advanced Flying Training at Valley, was posted as a co-pilot on the Vulcan. After twelve months, he transferred to helicopters, arriving in Kuching in April 1965 during the “Confrontation” with Indonesia. This was the environment he was looking for and, being sent with his helicopter and a crewman to a jungle fort near the border for two or three weeks, was tasked with doing what the army needed and with only intermittent communication with the base at Kuching: and he loved it!
After nine hectic months, Mike was posted to CFS and returned to Cranwell as an instructor on the Chipmunk. In 1967, he went onto the staff at CFS and became an examiner (a ‘Trapper’). Three years later, he was posted back to the front line on Pumas at Odiham and commanded their detachment in Northern Ireland. Amongst other duties, he resupplied the Army at Crossmaglen, where his young brother was in the Royal Green Jackets … where they went on foot patrol together!
After leaving the Royal Air Force in 1979, Mike worked in publishing, spending five years in Singapore, before coming back to flying in 1990 at Middle Wallop. There he flew for seven years, initially instructing then assessing candidates for the Army Air Corps. After retiring from full time flying, he continued instructing on Chipmunks and Tiger Moths at local airfields.
His funeral will be on Friday, October 21st at 3 p.m. at the North Oxfordshire Crematorium, Tackley, Kidlington, Oxfordshire OX5 3ER and afterwards at the Marlborough Arms, Woodstock, OX20 1TS.
Obituary courtesy of John Lumsden