Episode 140 – Captain Michael Cater

Guest: Captain Michael Cater senior (retired)

Host: Dave Homewood

Recorded: 17th of February 2017

Released:  23rd of March 2017

Duration:  2 hours 33 minutes 48 seconds

In this episode Dave Homewood talks with his good friend Captain Mike Cater, who served as a pilot in the Royal Air Force and then flew as an airline captain for many years. Initially learning to fly at a civilian flying school on de Havilland Chipmunks and Tiger Moths, in the RAF Mike trained on the Percival Jet Provost, and then went onto Folland Gnats.

Once he had his flying badge Mike went onto transports, flying the twin engined Vickers Varsity, and then onto the four engined Armstrong Whitworth Argosy. On this heavy transport type with No. 215 Squadron, Mike served as a co-pilot in Singapore and in the forward area on the island Borneo during the Indonesian-Malaysian Confrontation. They were flying the Argosy at low level through mountain passes over jungle dropping supplies, ammunition and other essentials to the British and Commonwealth troops who manned forts along the border between Malaysia and Indonesia.

Following his Far East service, Mike returned to Britain and was posted to RAF Benson to complete a command course, but from there he was deployed several times to Bahrain and was flew all round the Middle East, including supporting British interests in the war in Oman, where they were attempting to keep Soviet and Chinese-backed Communist forces out of the Middle East. During this period he converted to the Bristol Britannia transport.

In 1975 he was posted as an instructor to RAF Leuchars, training McDonnell Douglas Phantom pilots in the flight simulator. However he was dissatisfied with this non-flying position and decided to leave the RAF.

He then took a job flying for Air Faisal flying freight in Bristol Britannias. This was short lived as the airline went bust, and he then moved onto Laker Airways where he flew the McDonnell Douglas DC-10. Again this was short lived as Laker also went bust.

He then began flying cargo in Vickers Vanguards in the East Midlands of Britain. After about nine months he then gained a position flying Lockheed Tristars with Bahrain-based Gulf Air, and moved there with his family.

His next move was to Italy, flying Boeing 767’s with Air Europe, before joining Singapore Airlines flying Boeing 747’s.

Quick Links:

•  The Royal Air Force

•  No. 115 Squadron Royal Air Force

•  The Indonesia-Malaysian Confrontation

 Laker Airways

•  Gulf Air

 Singapore Airways

Mike Cater (senior)

Mike Cater (senior), left, and Mike Cater (junior). The younger Mike is Dave Homewood’s best mate, so Mike (senior) is also a very good friend. Mike senior lives in Spain these days, Mike junior in New Zealand.

1 comment to Episode 140 – Captain Michael Cater

  • Tony Fairbairn

    Mike -was intrigued to come across your name on WONZ and that you were on 215 Sqn at Changi. My late Dad, Doug, was a captain on 215 from mid-63 to mid-65. He spent some time at Benson (didn’t you all) and was Argosy wing pilot at Akrotiri 67-70. Dad & Mum both died (within 4 days of each other) in Dec 2013 having spent many happy years in retirement in Suffolk. I’ve skimmed though Dad’s log books, which don’t show that you flew together – unless you know otherwise! The NZ connection is a coincidence. Dad was a New Zealander and flew Lancasters with 75 (NZ) Sqn at Mepal in 1945. Also, my eldest son Jonathan and his fiancee (both living in Wiltshire) decided to get married in NZ in 2008 where he had a good friend from school in England. We all went out mob handed for the wedding and had a great time. I connected with WONZ while researching a magazine article for Aeroplane Monthly last year. If this stirs any memories I’d be interested to hear from you.

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