22 September 2023
When the young Dave Welch saw his first real Spitfire—part of a wartime ‘Wings for Victory’ appeal—it was the beginning of a lifelong love affair with aircraft and aviation. As a youngster, he rode his bike to airfields, and Battle of Britain airshows, where he began photographing and recording the many aircraft types he saw. He later joined the RAF, and served in photoreconnaissance units in Britain, Cyprus, and Kenya. It was there that he decided he wanted to be a navigator, although the route to qualification would be long and arduous. He would later fly with many civilian airlines, including British Eagle, Britannia Airways, British Midland Airways and Martinair. He also served as a navigating officer in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, before qualifying as an airline pilot. Dave’s long career spanned two air forces, numerous airlines, more than a hundred aircraft types, and many thousands of hours as a navigator, pilot, and instructor. His heartwarming story, North Star, gives a unique insight into the peaks and troughs of civil and military aviation in the years following World War Two.