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David Reid

Aviation historian and founder member of Prestwick Airport Aviation Group

Aviation historian and founder member of Prestwick Airport Aviation Group

An appreciation

David "Davie" Reid, who has died aged 93, was an aviation enthusiast and historian and one of the founder members of the Prestwick Airport Aviation Group, which is still going strong after more than 60 years.

In addition to the founders, including Wilf White and Donald MacDonald, the original members were a mixture of schoolboys and lads just beginning their apprenticeships at Scottish Aviation Ltd.

Living in Larkhall at the time, I became an associate member having been persuaded Prestwick was a much more exciting place to see aircraft than Renfrew. We 13-year-olds regarded Davie as a really old man then, although in reality he was only around 32.

His interest in aviation was aroused at the beginning of Scottish commercial flying when he witnessed Midland and Scottish Air Ferries' Dragons and Fox Moths flying from Prestwick beach around 1933/4.

He saw the development of flying from fields at Monkton which became the airfield, aerodrome and today's airport.

He never lost his passion for the place and over the years was its most ardent and eloquent advocate, keeping in touch until the last few months of his life through his air band radio and, of course, the club's monthly Air Letter.

In many ways, the Prestwick club was a forerunner of many similar organisations and when Air Britain, the association of aviation historians, was formed in 1948 it put this enthusiasm on a national footing.

Davie, who served in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War and on demob resumed his job in Ayr's Burgh Surveyor's office, was an early member and its Prestwick correspondent and then, Scottish co-ordinator.

He was also instrumental in setting up both Scotjet and Prestwick Airport Development Association, organisations intended to promote and safeguard Prestwick's transatlantic status.

In addition to his passion for aviation, Davie, whose father was town clerk of Ayr, took a keen interest in shipping and railways. To be endowed with enthusiasm is to be fortunate and when it is touched with a modicum of eccentricity it can be even more so. Davie was an avid reader, taking five newspapers every day in addition to many enthusiast publications.

Members left as studies, work and marriage took precedence but most kept up with Davie in one way or another and still welcome the Air Letter which has an international readership.

Enthusiasts come in for much ill-informed flak. However, a sub­stantial number who were inspired by their enthusiasm in the club and sustained by Davie Reid have made significant careers in aviation and other fields and have risen to high positions that include head of airworthiness for Airbus, commander in chief of the Canadian Air Force and head of quality for British Aerospace.

Davie's legacy to us and to Prestwick Airport is great and manifest.

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