Glen Caple – RACWA Chief Engineer. Celebrating 50 Years!

As a boy, Glen Caple had a passion for model aeroplanes and pulling things apart to find out how they worked, before putting them back together again. He also wanted to fly. So when the Royal Aero Club of WA advertised in 1968 for an apprentice engineer, Glen couldn’t believe his luck. 50 years on, he’s still there, working as Chief Engineer.

As an apprentice, Glen broke new ground in aircraft maintenance training, completing his five year engineering course, in four years and passing his CASA LAME (Licenced Aircraft Maintenance Engineer) exams in the same period. Something that had never been achieved in Western Australia before. Then, over a period of years, Glen added to his qualifications with engine, air frame, electrical and instrument certificates.

In 1970, Glen started flying lessons. It took him a while, as he could only take lessons after he had saved for them. On obtaining his pilot licence three years later, he went on to obtain further flying endorsements; aerobatic, tail wheel undercarriage, constant speed retractable, twin rating, formation and night VFR.

In 1973, Glen bought a Chipmunk (VHRHW) as a restorative project – it had been built in 1951 – the same year Glen had been born. He planned to sell it after the refurbishment, but after a loop and a roll in its first test flight, he loved the aeroplane so much, he put it on the Club’s line. It stayed there for 6 years, until it paid back what it owed and now sits in the RACWA hangar, awaiting Glen’s next Formation Flight.

David Currey, RACWA CEO, admits; “This is a truly momentous event, as 50 years with one employer is a very rare occurrence, particularly in this day and age of high job turnover. Glen’s knowledge and skills are legendary. The Club is indeed very fortunate to have Glen’s high standards to ensure our aircraft are maintained above and beyond regulatory requirements.” David goes on; “We’re also lucky to actually have over 100 years of aviation experience working hand in hand in our Hangar. Lew Peake, RACWA’s Senior Leading Hand, was in the same apprenticeship class as Glen, when they were both 16. He too has had a long and distinguished career in aviation over the last 50 years, and joined the team here in 2010.”

For those looking to become an aircraft engineer today, Glen advises: “It’s not easy, there’s lots of study. You can’t get there just by attending tech, you need to do a lot of home work and study. But it’s very rewarding. Plus there’s a desperate shortage of LAME’s in Australia at the moment, so there’s a good chance of getting a job in the industry, if you’re any good.”

Glen celebrates his 50 years with RACWA on February 2nd 2018.