WONZ 214 – Malcolm Flack


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Guest: F/Lt Malcolm Flack RAF, RNZAF (retired)

Host: Dave Homewood

Recorded: 1st of December 2019

Released: 19th of January 2020

Duration: 47 minutes 20 seconds

In this episode Dave Homewood climbed into the cockpit of the Handley Page Hastings in the workshop of MOTAT – the Museum of Transport and Technology – in Auckland with 97-year-old Malcolm Flack, to record his memories of flying in WWII and postwar with the RAF and then the RNZAF.

Born just south of London, Malcolm joined the Royal Air Force in 1942, and was selected to go to the USA and trained in the U.S. Navy system flying Stearman and SNJ’s, and he progressed onto flying PBY Catalina to complete his flying training.

He then returned to Britain and converted to Oxfords, before going onto Wellingtons to complete his Operational Training Unit course. He was then posted to a Short Stirling squadron who were tasked with lowing Horsa gliders. The war ended before Malcolm was able to fly operationally with gliders, but he stayed on in the RAF.

Soon after the end of the war he was posted to an Avro York squadron, with RAF Transport Command. When the Berlin Airlift began Malcolm flew as Second Pilot in Yorks operating into Berlin for a number of trips. After a break from flying working in a ground role, he did a captaincy course, and then returned to the Yorks now as a captain. He flew another 100 operations into Berlin during the Airlift as captain.

When the Airlift finished Malcolm converted to the Handley Page Hastings, and continued to fly with Transport Command around the world as far as Singapore and Japan and back to Britain.

Following an accident in the Canal Zone in a Hastings, Malcolm sought a change and became a instructor. He was training pilots on Harvards and Oxfords, and then on two-seat Meteor jets.

When his time in the RAF came to an end in 1955 Malcolm decided to enlist with the RNZAF and he flew a further four years as a Hastings pilot, before retiring to become a school teacher.

Special thanks to Charles Darby who set up this interview, and Steve Subritzky of MOTAT who allowed us to access the Hastings cockpit, allowing a unique place for Malcolm to reminisce about his Air Force days.

Above: Malcolm Flack, 97, back in the cockpit of a Handley Page Hastings that he flew during the 1950’s. (Photo Dave Homewood)

Above: Malcolm after the interview, standing under the DC-3, with the Hastings cockpit where the interview took place in the background. (Photo Dave Homewood)

Quick Links:

The Museum of Transport and Technology

MOTAT on Facebook

The Handley Page Hastings

The Avro York

The Berlin Airlift

217 episodes