A PUBLISHED Barry Island granddad has launched the second volume of his memoir about his pilot training.

Dad-of-two Ron Powell, who lives on Nell’s Point, Barry Island with his wife Geraldine, has completed the next part of the book – On The Buffet.

Since retirement, the author has published four books: a Battle of Britain novel, Wings Over Summer, which has sold more than 17,500 copies; a sequel, Wings Over Malta; and two volumes of memoir, Shropshire Blue; the first, Preparation For Flight, about growing up in the border town of Ludlow and his early years in the RAF; the second, On The Buffet, about his pilot training.

In aviation terms, being ‘on the buffet’ means being close to disaster.

Mr Powell recounts his difficult journey.

He said: “I really enjoyed the ground studies and a lot of the flying, especially the run up to my first solo in a Jet Provost.

“I also loved the thrills of spinning and aerobatics, as well as the advanced skills of navigation and formation flying, but I didn’t seem able to master flying on instruments, a vital skill for any pilot flying in bad weather.

“Much of the time it seemed that no matter how hard I worked on the ground, I just couldn’t produce the results in the air.

“As well as the thrills, in On The Buffet I try to explain why I struggled, and the effect it had on me and my newly-wed wife, Geraldine.

“She’d prepare me a cooked breakfast every morning, but often I was so nervous about the day’s flying that I couldn’t eat.

“Things improved, thank goodness, and 38 years, two children and a granddaughter later I eat everything she puts in front of me.”

He added: “In the end, while others on my course fell by the wayside, I managed to succeed on the Jet Provost and move on to multi-engine training on the Jetstream, which included a memorable visit to Berlin during the Cold War.”

The book ends with Mr Powell gaining his wings and looking forward to flying the four-engine Hercules on the front line during and after the Falklands War, the subject of Volume 3, which he intends to start shortly.

He served 32 years in the RAF, becoming a flying instructor and instructor of instructors, finally retiring as a group captain commanding the first stage of flying training for the Navy, Army and RAF.

Shropshire Blue: A Shropshire Lad in the RAF, Volume 2, On The Buffet, appears alongside his books on Amazon, from where it is available as an e-book or paperback.

For more information visit ronpowell.co.uk