Tasman Echo Alpha is the embellished experience of former air New Zealand pilot Guy Clapshaw at a time when airline flight brought magic and romance to lives.Characters include Richard Whacker, the aircrew scheduler who managed to get all the aircraft overseas and their crews back in New Zealand, the operations manager who only hired people with bird names, and aircrew who performed extraordinarily well in emergency situations.
What a wonderful read, congratulations! A lot of great memories came flooding back for me, particularly Polynesian Airlines.
Mavis had asked me to look for it for some item cos she had lost it (she asked a male!), Instead, I found my Xmas present from her.
Needless to say, I couldn’t read it, 'could I’!
Wishing you and yours a very Merry Xmas.
John & Mavis Sager.
Capt (retired) Air NZ and PAL.
One moment you're chuckling, moments later you're on the edge of your seat with excitement as this author flies us back to the 1960s. captain Capshaw has used his memories to produce a novel that entertains us with humor, technical interest, excitement, and a beautifully romantic ending that brought a lump to my throat.
Arthur Phillips. Hammersmith.
Hurrah! Joseph (Catch 22) Heller is back alive and writing about the airline scene. Tasmin Echo Alpha entertained me with its humour, excitement, romance and host of extraordinary different characters but I cannot believe anybody had that much fun in the flying game. A good read though.
J. Hurdis. Malibu. CALIF,
Guy Clapshaw was a flyer during the halcyon days of aviation, or as he puts it: “when flying was dangerous and sex was safe".
His latest book Tasman Echo Alpha chronicles his days with TEAL, later Air New Zealand, from the mid 1960’s. The company had three aircraft, pilots were banned from fraternising with the hostesses and landing at night in Hong Kong was a buzz like no other.
Apparently the biggest cad in the airline was a Captain Bond. Bond thought he was James Bond and tried to bed all the hostesses, but they reckoned he lacked James Bond’s stamina and christened him ‘Oh Oh Six and Half!’ When Bond retired he omitted to tell his wife. For two years she would drop him off at the airport where one of his girlfriends picked him up and took him to Orewa for a few days of horizontal folk dancing. Inevitably he got caught out when Mrs Bond phoned the airline to enquire about his amended arrival time and was told he’d retired two years ago!”
Guy is still flying, although now aged ‘70 plus GST’ most recently piloting Jean Batten’s Percival Gull for the television movie Jean filmed at Kaipara Flats. He tells a yarn with more vigour than a man half his age and has an incredible memory and the wit to match. Fittingly his latest book sells more copies at the airport than anywhere else.
Guy’s love of aviation and story-telling began when a Messerschmitt 109 ‘belly-landed’ on the family farm during the Second World War.
“The German pilot joined us for tea, and stayed the night. Next day the local constable came over, arrested him and gave him a lift to the Police Station on the cross bar of his bicycle!”
Guy’s school friends believed his father led a squadron of aces in daring dog fights during the day, and ran night bombing runs over Germany at night. When the classmates were invited to a surprise birthday party Guy’s father was fawned over by the parents. It quickly became apparent that Guy hadn’t let the facts get in the way of a good story. His father was a dairy farmer during the war years; a tough occupation that now occupies Guy.
The Village Bookshop at Matakana has stocked Tasman Echo Alpha ahead of Father’s Day and it is a gripping insight into a bygone era. So after all these year’s what’s Guy’s favourite plane?
Brian Meadley.RAF (ret). Captain East African Airways EAA (retired).
I started reading TASMAN ECHO ALPHA and am writing to congratulate you
on a splendid book. You have a delightful way with words and your
humorous descriptions are wonderful and I greatly enjoyed it all. And you have the gift in
aviation of being able to be serious when necessary, but light hearted
when possible, which in my humble view is a hall mark of a real
aviator (as opposed to a driver, airframe).
Your description of your colleagues in the very last sentence but
one exactly fits my colleagues in EAST AFRICAN AIRWAYS and the impression
you give of base and line training, and night-stops and so forth could be applied
to EAA. And both our airlines treated navs and Flight Engineers and pursers and
cabin staff as equals which is by no means the norm.
I had thought that EAA was unique, but I now think that AIR NEW ZEALAND matches
it. EAA folded 40 years ago but such was our cameradie that we still
hold reunions. It was about to go wide bodied when it collapsed, so I
never got my hands on a 747 as you did.
You surely cannot leave the story there, and I greatly look forward
to the sequel.
Write a Review