Many a Close Run Thing
A New Zealand squadron leader, flying-boat captain and airliner pilot on a life of aerial adventure
Planes were rarely seen above the small Central Otago sheep-farming town of Ranfurly in the 1940s. Yet as a young boy, Tom Enright had a fascination with the skies that quickly developed into a longing to become a pilot. He joined the RNZAF as an engineer in 1951, and was sent to England at just 16 to attend the revered Royal Air Force college in Cranwell.
Returning to New Zealand to join the Vampire fighter squadron in Ohakea, Tom became a famed member of the RNZAF aerobatic team. Later he became a flying commander at Wigram air base, before captaining a Sunderland flying boat to isolated communities in the vast South Pacific, often to the upper limits of the plane's endurance.
From the near-catastrophic opening of Wellington airport to flying Boeing 747s into the world's biggest airports, this is Tom Enright's story of the mishaps, misadventures and high-altitude drama of a 45-year flying career.