Glory days recalled in aviation novel

WRITE ON: Pakuranga author Guy Clapshaw has released his third book about his time flying with Air New Zealand. Photo supplied.

Pakuranga resident and former Air New Zealand pilot Guy Clapshaw has reached an impressive 3000 sales of his latest book, Tasman Echo Alpha: When flying was dangerous and sex was safe.

Released in late November, the book focuses on Mr Clapshaw’s embellished recollections of 30 years’ flying experience with Air New Zealand during a time when enormous industry expansion was taking place.

In 1965, Mr Clapshaw started working as a pilot with Air New Zealand, formerly known as Tasman Empire Airways Limited (TEAL).

With the purchase of three DC-8 jet airliners, TEAL became Air New Zealand.

Filled with the tales of a philandering captain who didn’t tell his wife he’d retired, a band of very professional aircrew and an aircrew scheduler, Mr Clapshaw’s latest book provides an entertaining behind-the-scenes insight into his time with Air New Zealand.

Mr Clapshaw first realised he was a fiction writer during the Second World War, when his classmates bragged about their parents’ war efforts, and he decided he would join in the fun.

One of his classmates’ had a mother who was a NAAFI tea lady, and another had a father who was a squadron storeman, but Mr Clapshaw’s father was simply an Air Raid warden, so he began making up stories about his father being shot down in the Battle of Britain, imprisoned in Colditz Castle, and organising the Great Escape to lead an 1000-bomber raid on Berlin, and bomb Tokyo on the way home to win the war.

Soon, his classmates’ parents couldn’t wait to meet his famous father.

In a hilarious turn of events, Mr Clapshaw told friends at his birthday party his father had shell shock, instructing them not to talk to him about the war at all.

Tasman Echo Alpha is the third book Mr Clapshaw has written, and local bookstore proprietor Barbara Rosie of Readaway Books said it’s his best yet.

The keen writer hopes to release his fourth book next November, focusing on commercial flying in the 1970s and 80s.