Howard Cook - Solo in the Spitfire....


© Howard Cook

and the Hurricane...


© Keith Wilson

Howard Cook was at Prices between 1972 and 1974 and in that time he threw himself into the Judo club and arduous training before embarking on a life packed with adventure.

He writes:

In brief. I worked in the North American Insurance business but working late and commuting was a poor mix. I started in the Leisure Management business in Bedford. I moved on to Eastbourne and Suffolk. One of my Sports Centres won the Sports Council Management Award as the best in the UK. I ran larger leisure centres, swimming pools and gyms and then got into writing funding bids for projects like athletic tracks, community and sports facilities and running events like Magna Carta, Olympic Torch Relay and Airshows.

I had a very difficult childhood - 20 house moves - and Prices was amongst 10 schools (all without a National Curriculum at the time so like starting again each time) - and I had to go out to work despite that wanted to go on to study more. I wish I could have stayed at Prices as it was the best. I made up for this later doing by MA History at University of Birmingham. I still lecture to this day; museums, cruise ships etc.

I have always travelled a great deal and used to think that I wish "JB" (Mr.Chaffey) could have been able to take us out to see such places as I feel Geography is very much 'I hear I forget, I see I remember, I do I understand'. I was also thinking he would be pleased with my FRGS.

I was in the Judo Club at Prices and sent the club photo in some time back. (I still do Martial Arts now and am a Black Belt 3rd Dan teaching Kendo - albeit more like Yoda than young warrior). I also went on a couple of the Prices CCF Arduous Training camps to Brecon and Leek.

I had always wanted to fly but had a problem with my right eye so could not go into the RAF as I had wanted. I served some time with the Parachute Regiment and took up Skydiving as it was a way to get into the air. My eyes cleared up later - too late for RAF aircrew - and when I got married I took 3 weeks off to get my Pilots Licence. From that moment on I was flying Vintage aircraft like the Tiger Moth. I joined volunteers in teams at Duxford and also flew more and more powerful aircraft.

I eventually flew the Harvard, Spitfire Mk.V, Hurricane, Mustang, Storch, Kittyhawk. At one stage I was the only pilot in the world flying fighters that was not a professional pilot, owner or engineer. I also write for some of the aviation magazines; flight tests or history (sample articles attached). Although I was a Display Pilot for years I mostly train pilots for their Air Display Authorisations. From 2006 until December 2021 I was Honorary Commander of the 493rd Fighter Squadron US Air Force and have flown the F15 Eagle. For the past 10 years I have co-owned a de Havilland Chipmunk. Any Prices CCF Air Cadets may have flown it at camp at Finningley where it was based. I am a Liveryman of the Honourable Company of Air Pilots.


Hurricane passing Gozo in the "Merlins over Malta" event in 2005 © Peta Cook

Howard in a de Havilland Chipmunk © Jon Higgins