CMDR Alan Hickling RN, RAN (ret) died peacefully at his home in Washington on Tuesday 2 April. He was 88.

Born in London on 22 February 1936, Alan studied mechanical sciences at Cambridge, graduating in 1958 with a BA (Hons). His interest was in aeronautical engineering and, interestingly, ESP – he was a charter member of the Parapsychological Society.

He joined the Royal Navy in 1959, trained as a pilot and went on to fly Scimitars, Sea Vixens, and F4 Phantoms.He completed No 36 Air Warfare Instructors’ course in Whale Island, Portsmouth and RN Air Station Lossiemouth in 1964. On the same course was John DaCosta.

While a member of 892 Squadron RNAS Yeovilton, Al set a New York to London speed record on 11 May 1969, flying an F4K Phantom as part of a team taking part in the Daily Mail Air Race.  An article on this event will feature in the May edition of “FlyBy” magazine.

Al joined the RAN around 1970, was soon Senior Pilot and for a short time, CO of VC 724 Squadron, and was a driving force in the development of air warfare training for the Skyhawk in the RAN – his contribution cannot be overestimated.

He left the Navy in 1983 and moved to the United States where he applied his aviation, weapons and engineering expertise and experience to several appointments in Defense and aviation circles.

On behalf of us all, we extend to his wife Kathie and Rachel, Sarah, Joseph and Matthew our sincere condolences.

(With thanks to Daggers & Muz).