BOAC and How It All Began for Me

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Written by Shea Oakley

 

On June 15th, 1968 my parents boarded a BOAC Super VC-10 for a trip from Kennedy International to Bermuda. I was with them, and four months old at the time. The aircraft registration was G-ASGJ, the same airplane that appears briefly in this old commercial (along with the bulkhead-mounted BOAC bassinet in which they kept me throughout the two-hour flight to “BDA”)

You might be wondering how I know the exact ship which was involved in jetting us to that charming British isle nearly 50 years ago. The answer comes in the form of a little tan package offered to my father on board the flight. Inside it was a small set of metal wings, a description of the Super VC-10 and, most important of all, a slim 4 X 6 inch hard cover booklet. It was Navy Blue with gold lettering on the cover which read “BOAC JUNIOR JET CLUB LOG BOOK.” My dad filled out our contact information on the inside of that cover under my name and handed it to the stewardess. She then conveyed it to the “flight deck” (the VC-10 was far too regal an aircraft to describe that area as a “cockpit”) where the captain filled in a horizontal line of 6 small boxes describing details of the flight. In the 7th box he signed his name.

My father had no way of knowing it at the time, but by taking that package on an early summer day in 1968 he was launching his son’s lifelong love affair with commercial aviation.

Once I was old enough to hand my little log book to the flight attendant myself I was often invited up to the cockpit of whatever airliner we happened to be flying to present it to the captain personally. You might imagine what that meant to young boy. I was hooked very early on (as attested by a Polaroid I still have showing me at 22 months old holding a friction-powered toy Eastern 727 model high above our pantry floor.)

I went through four of those BOAC, and later British Airways, log books through age 16 and then shifted to a generic passenger log book when I felt I was no longer a “junior” anything. I still maintain one in fact. This means I have logged virtually every commercial flight I’ve been on in the past half-century. These books are probably my most cherished physical possessions. I don’t mind admitting that I keep them in a fireproof box at home.

Today I am a trained aviation manager and the director of an aviation museum. I’m deeply involved in the airline/airliner enthusiast community as well. Commercial flight, and everything it encompasses, has become both a passion and a vocation for me. I literally thank God that my dad (who passed away in 2005) thought the Junior Jet Club might be something neat in which to involve his infant son.

In my life since that day, at least as far as aviation goes, it has made all the difference.

(First published on NYCaviation.com)

Trackback from your site.

Comments (7)

  • Avatar

    Chris Bidlack

    |

    Great story, Shea. You’re very lucky. I have no log books, and very little in the way of memories of the aircraft on which I fly as a young kid. Before I was born in 1956, my older brother and sister flew on a Northwest Airlines flight, and I do have the 1952 NWA “Souvenir Flight Packet” my mom saved from their flight. On the cover she wrote, “From our first plane ride — WR [Willow Run] to Chicago — the kids & I.”

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Brendan Murphy

    |

    I recently inherited a large collection of airline timetables from my brother-in-law. He was 56. Like you, he had a passion for airlines from a very early age. My wife (his sister) would like to find a good home for these timetables he collected. There are hundreds of them – mostly from major airlines like USAir, Piedmont, Braniff, American, United, Northwest, Canadian, Canadair, Continental, Republic, Northwest Orient, Frontier, Delta, TWA, & on and on. The dates are mostly 1970’s Through early 2000’s. I have not catalogued them all yet. My question to you is, do you know anyone in the Washington/Baltimore area that would like them. We want to find a person who will appreciate them. We will sell them for well below what they might fetch if we can find someone who can enjoy all the effort that was put into collecting them.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    irving Lew

    |

    Love your article of true passion for airliners, Shea! I too fell in love with commercial jet aircraft early, though never became a pilot or worked for an airline. My dream job would be a structural stress engineer for Boeing Seattle, instead of working on the F-18, as I still do.
    I was never affluent enough to fly regularly, but now I suddenly have model airliners everywhere in the house, collecting an example of every equipment I’ve flown, beginning 2016.
    Show a snapshot of your logs and logbook!

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Amer Khalil

    |

    The junior jet club, you have brought back some very happy memories. Sadly, I have misplaced or lost my log book. We flew as a family regularly from London Heathrow to Karachi in Pakistan on the majestic VC-10, best plane I ever flew on.. I don’t recall the route map but think maybe it stopped at Jeddah en route?

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Leslie Jackson

    |

    I had a Junior Jet Club logbook that I had filled out with most of my BA flights that I took. I also had a Qantas and Cathay Pacific flight logged in there. It used to give you instructions that once you reached 25000 miles(BA flights only), you would send it back to BA and get a certificate. But it was unclear as to whether you would get your logbook back. I had flights logged from 1975 to 2003. The types I flew on were from across the BA fleet, including 707, 737, 747, 757, 767, Trident, Bac 111, Concorde, DC10, Tristars. The one that never made into the book was the VC10 flight we took from MAN-JFK in 1978, which I wish I had. Those were great mementos of your childhood that gives you and little snapshot into your travels back then

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Henry Tenby

    |

    Hi Shea, fantastic briefing on your early days catalyst! Mine is similar in many respects. I too started my log book with one of those old BOAC junior log books, I do not know where I got it but it started as late as DEC 21 1981. When I filled it up I transitioned to the DPR Marketing passenger log books of Twickenham UK and I then filled up a few them throughout the 1980s and 1990s. But for you to have the original one from your 1968 BOAC VC-10 flight is magnificent. As an adult it explains why the Vickers VC-10 is one of your favourite airliners. I cut my teeth on Air Canada Viscounts and Vanguards so those types are my adult obsessions.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Morgan

    |

    Hi Shea,
    The well remembered accounts of your early flying days brought similar memories flooding back to me. From 1957 to 1964 I was a regular schoolboy/student passenger on the LHR-SIN-LHR routing, and almost every flight was with BOAC except my first which was Singapore -LHR
    in July 1957 on a QANTAS Super Connie which according to my “Flight Certificate” took 27 hours at an average speed of 310mph! My next trip was March 1958 by BOAC’s “Whispering Giant’ Bristol Britannia. These were thoroughly unreliable aircraft and my last trip in one took 2 1/2 days because of engine failures. A night in the Ritters Park Hotel, Frankfurt was immediately followed by a night in the Speedbird Hotel, Karachi. All good fun for a young teenager and a steep learning curve on how the world goes round. Still trying to work that one out. By 1960 the Britannia was being phased out and replaced by the Boeing 707. The first jet I ever travelled in and the first time I came across the JJC. I never had it updated after the initial entry – I was in my mind a full fledged adult and at the great age of 15 never again considered myself as a junior in any activity! I probably threw out all that now interesting stuff
    but I have steadfastly held onto all my Concorde freebies, ties, tie-pins, cuff-links, Cross Pens
    with Concorde clip etc – all available in never ending supply on eBay as old buffers like myself
    inevitably bite the dust.

    Reply

Leave a comment

45th Airliners International™

 Chicago, IL

June 23-25, 2022
The World's Largest Airline Collectibles
 Show &
Convention will be in
Chicago, Illinois in 2022!

WAHS LogoWorld Airline Historical Society, Inc.
PO Box 13693, Tampa, FL 33616 USA
Contact Us

Archives