Narberth and District Probus Club enjoyed a fascinating talk from one of its own members when club member Michael Bearman described his life in the aviation industry.

Mike grew up in Hendon and spent a lot of time watching aeroplanes taking off and landing at the nearby airport. It was of little surprise that he later decided to pursue a career in the aviation industry; he was the third generation of his family to be involved in aviation. 

Mike studied Aviation Engineering for five years partly at Brunel and then took a job in  Rhodesia to gain practical experience and become a fully qualified avionics engineer. In this job he pursued fault finding on engines and other areas in the aircraft. 

During this time he travelled all over Africa including one trip to Lake Victoria to to sort out a DC3 only to find a pride of lions enjoying the shade under the plane! The job had to wait three hours until they moved, but were still just 100 yards away. 

After two years of solving tasks for various air companies, Mike returned to the UK and joined Laker Airways as a supervisor. Now with an Independent Licence, which allowed him to work anywhere, he joined Caledonian Airways as Chief Avionic Engineer and moved into the purchasing department buying Boeing 707's and other aircraft, some costing millions of dollars.  Next, he travelled to Texas, California, Arizona and elsewhere in the States where he was able to buy craft with various electronic faults, mend them and move them on at a profit. 

Mike returned to Africa, taking on jobs in Egypt and Libya and elsewhere. By now, he was an economics specialist in the aviation field and was advising governments in their purchasing strategy, a task he fulfilled for five years. This included involvement in building a 600 million dollar airport in Egypt. Whilst nearing the end of his career he and his wife bought a smallholding in West Wales – something they always wanted to do. Having realised this ambition they later moved on again, this time, to Narberth where both are now happily retired.

The vote of thanks was given by Mike Richards.

PROBUS is a local, national and international association of retired gentlemen (initially PROfessional and BUSiness) who come together in a non-political. non sectarian, non-profit, autonomous club which provides regular opportunities for members to meet others in similar circumstances, with similar levels of interest. The club provides opportunities for making new friends, and maintaining and expanding member's interests.

The Probus Club movement was formed in the UK 1965. There are now over 400,000 members in approximately 4,000 clubs worldwide. Probus clubs are local to towns and districts, are independent and there is no central governing body. There are separate Probus Clubs for ladies.

The Probus Club of Narberth and District meets on the last Thursday of each month at the Plas Hyfryd Hotel, Narberth at 12.30pm. A short talk from a visiting guest speaker or from a Probus member of the club is followed by lunch served at 1.15pm. The meeting usually finishes by 2.30pm.

If you would like to join Probus or want to know more about it, contact Patrick Jones on 07846 660904, email [email protected]