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In-depth John Romain career interview

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  • Elliott Marsh
    Rank 5 Registered User

    In-depth John Romain career interview

    Link -- www.vintageaviationecho.com/john-romain/

    Some may recall that I'd posted links earlier this year to my interviews with John Romain on the Bristol Blenheim and Bf 109E for The Vintage Aviation Echo. In May, I had the opportunity to sit down with John a third time for a career retrospective interview. The resulting article is now published, complemented by genuinely awesome John Dibbs and George Romain photostets, and I wanted to indulge in a little self-promotion and share the link here, particularly given that the previous two were well received on Key.

    It's a long but hopefully insightful and rewarding piece, covering the childhood roots of John Romain's interest in vintage aviation, charting his involvement with the first two Blenheim restorations, the development of his engineering expertise and his move into the historic aviation scene under the tutelage of the likes of Lindsay Walton, John Larcombe, Hoof Proudfoot and the Hannas. It then moves into his time flying for OFMC and TFC, recounting some of the exciting early to mid-90s airshow flying at events across Europe. Attention turns to the establishment of Historic Flying Ltd's presence at Duxford and ARCo's expansion, looking at test flying and some of the challenges warbird flying can give rise to, including detailed accounts of engine failures in Spitfire SM845 and the Buchn. The filming of 'Dunkirk' is also covered, exploring the challenges of dealing with a director's ambitious visions when flying vintage warbirds. The piece is also deeply personal, recounting John's reconciliation of the serious losses the historic scene suffered in the mid-90s and the effect a life dedicated to aviation has had on his family.

    Some of the stories and the insight are just remarkable - please do have a read and (hopefully!) enjoy!

    Link -- www.vintageaviationecho.com/john-romain/
    Click image for larger version  Name:	CORS0502-banner-1024x373.jpg Views:	1 Size:	70.5 KB ID:	3840087


    Attached Files
    Last edited by Elliott Marsh; 7th November 2018, 14:16.
    The Vintage Aviation Echo
  • GliderSpit
    Flying Dutchman

    #2
    Thanks! Great Article. Very interesting to read! John Dibbs pictures are excellent too (as always).
    Possunt quia posse videntur (They can because they think they can; motto RAF 19 Squadron)

    tracesofwar.com/

    Comment

    • PanzerJohn
      Rank 5 Registered User

      #3
      A great job there Elliott and stunning photo's too.

      Comment

      • DazDaMan
        Rank 5 Registered User

        #4
        A great read.
        Daren Cogdon

        Spitfire fanatic

        Comment

        • bazv
          olde rigger

          #5
          Thanks for posting the interview Elliott - JR always sounds like a very nice,down to earth guy.
          We had a tour round Arco earlier this year - a very impressive place with some lovely A/C around

          Comment

          • Propstrike
            Rank 5 Registered User

            #6
            Really well written, and given John's experience, I am sure you were only able to scratch the surface.

            It is a paradox that in this age of information , really good journalism becomes ever harder to find, since the monthly periodical are in retreat, because readers believe everything can now be found online. However, since online writing ususally comes with no financial rewards, it is unusual for competent authors to take the trouble to research, interview, edit and submit top quality articles, so we need to be especially grateful to Elliott.

            I think there may be scope to save/print/sell these beautifully illustrated essays in a more permanent form.
            Last edited by Propstrike; 7th November 2018, 12:23.

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            • TEXANTOMCAT
              Rank 5 Registered User

              #7
              Superb thanks for sharing! TT
              Our Beech 18 & T-6@www.beechrestorations.com
              Visit Sywell Aviation Museum @
              www.sywellaerodrome.co.uk/museum.php
              Sywell Airshow 17.8.2014

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              • trumper
                Rank 5 Registered User

                #8
                This site cant be reached

                www%2Cvintageaviationecho.coms server IP address could not be found.
                ERR_NAME_NOT_RESOLVED

                Comment

                • Archer
                  Innocent bystander

                  #9
                  Try the link at the bottom of the post. The first one has a comma while there should be a dot.
                  A Little VC10derness - A Tribute to the Vickers VC10 - www.VC10.net

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                  • Elliott Marsh
                    Rank 5 Registered User

                    #10
                    Thanks for the kind comments, all.

                    Propstrike -- quite right, there was enough material to easily double the length. Picking and choosing certain elements and stories to fit the overarching narrative wasn't easy!

                    Trumper -- the image link seems to have 'tripped' in my initial post. I've rectified this. Try www.vintageaviationecho.com/john-romain/ if in doubt.
                    The Vintage Aviation Echo

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                    • trumper
                      Rank 5 Registered User

                      #11
                      Thank you got it from Elliotts last link

                      Comment

                      • trumper
                        Rank 5 Registered User

                        #12
                        Absolutely superb , a great read and the photos just WOW Thank you for writing and posting.

                        Comment

                        • Seafuryfan
                          Rank 5 Registered User

                          #13
                          Its hard to express how appreciative I am for the insights which John has provided, courtesy of you Elliott. It feels almost like a watershed interview, looking at periods in the warbird movement that many of us have been privy to for all those years, but from the other side of the fence....including the personal impact of working all those weekends, for all those years, for his and our pleasure. I sort of feel as Ive lived it too, from an enthusiasts perspective. The best I could do was to say thanks to John one day for everything he and his team had achevied. He must have thought I was a total random nutcase stranger!

                          I agree completely with Propstrikes post regarding your literacy prowess, up there with the best aviation journalism. I think that your articles really should be gathered together and published in hard copy. And as for the JD and GR photography,...words are inadequate.
                          Last edited by Seafuryfan; 7th November 2018, 20:37. Reason: GR!

                          Comment

                          • Bruce
                            Independent analyst

                            #14
                            An excellent article.

                            One factual point, MK912 first flew from Audley End, not Duxford. Dont remember who flew it, but think it was Charlie.

                            I do think one of Johns biggest achievements is that he has established an apprentice scheme that will keep,the industry alive. In many ways, he has mirrored the DH technical school, which is fantastic. Pilots and engineers are coming through behind him, who can emulate some of what he has achieved. Martin Overall is a good example.

                            Comment

                            • red5
                              Rank 5 Registered User

                              #15
                              Absolutely superb article. Having grown up around these people in the 80s and 90s, following their every move around the airshow circuit and myself being first an engineer and then a pilot, John was / is someone who I have always aspired to. Would love to buy the guy a beer and have a chat sometime.

                              Comment

                              • Roobarb
                                Rank 5 Registered User

                                #16
                                Bruce, I think you'll find that it was Charlie that ferried SM845 out from Audley End to DX and JR did the flight with MK912, they were the last two. From memory MK was the last HFL Spitfire to be completed and fly from Audley End with JG891 coming over by road.

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                                • DADE
                                  Rank 1 Registered User

                                  #17
                                  I can only agree with all the statements made about this article. The statement that it goes without saying is wrong and people should congratulate something special.

                                  Comment

                                  • Bruce
                                    Independent analyst

                                    #18
                                    Thanks Roobarb - it was a while ago now, that's for sure! Yes, it was the last one to be completed at Audley End, shortly before I was made redundant.

                                    Comment

                                    • baz62
                                      Rank 5 Registered User

                                      #19
                                      I've always been a fan of John Romain ever since I saw him in an article in Flypast about the first Blenheim restoration. We are of a similar age but he has far surpassed anything I've done in aviation. Being in New Zealand I didn't think I'd get to meet John but I spied him at the 2015 Classic Fighters and my wife and I went over to say hullo. I found him very friendly and we chatted about what he'd been up to. I mentioned my Auster project in passing and he he said the first display he ever did was in an Auster! We have kept in touch and this year helped a couple of Tiger Moth projects here with some hard to find AGS bolts. Oh and he brought some 109 thingy to display too......:-) Great article and love his description of the heydays of Airshow flying in the 80s and 90s.

                                      Comment

                                      • ThreeM
                                        Rank 4 Registered User

                                        #20
                                        An excellent interview with an outstanding and very accomplished individual. His display in PL983 at last month's Race Day at Old Warden was outstanding and judging by the spontaneous round of applause at the end was greatly appreciated by all those watching.

                                        Comment

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