– A Condensed History of the Air Pilot Manuals –
For over 25 years the Air Pilot Manuals have led the academic training of pilots in the United Kingdom and in many countries around the world.
I first met Trevor Thom, a professional pilot and natural teacher, in Melbourne during a visit to Australia in January 1985. He already had his series of PPL Manuals for the Australian market and I asked him to produce a series for the New Zealand market where we had a small aviation business. Having completed this task, Trevor immediately began writing the first of the Air Pilot Manuals for the United Kingdom market and this project began in earnest on 5th December 1985.
Both Trevor Thom and Robert Johnson commenced the task in my office at Felden. By the end of the following year, all four volumes were complete and were published in February 1987. By the end of that year, we estimated that 95% of all the UK Flying Schools were using our manuals. Volumes 5, 6 and 7 followed, so completing the full series.
Unfortunately, Trevor Thom had a serious accident at home which prevented him from continuing with the editing of the manuals. His rights were eventually sold to David Robson, another experienced pilot and natural teacher, who progressively improved the drawings and brought colour into the manuals for the first time.
Over the years there have been many assistant editors, in particular Peter Godwin, whose help I first asked for in the very early days with Trevor Thom and which continued until quite recently. The rights in the Air Pilot Manuals are now vested with the Pooley family and they continue to be edited and published from our offices and the Flying Instructor School at Shoreham Airport.
The Air Pilot Manuals have an outstanding reputation for accuracy and are continuously updated. They are recommended CAA reading material and are referred to extensively in the CAA examination answer booklet. Robert Pooley CStJ FRIN FRAeS MBE