Home' Air Force News : April 14th 2011 Contents 27
Phone: 07 5531 5692/0417 780 961
Gateway to National Parks
and the Top End
Phone: 08 8981 9283
Magic Mountain Family Recreation Park
Yellow Pinch Wildlife Park
Whale watching cruises (Sep to Nov)
Jazz festival (June long weekend)
Phone: 02 6495 2030
Why not try one of the
apartments in one of three
SGT Andrew Hetherington
ONE of the more interesting char-
acters to pass through the gates at
the recent Australian International
Airshow at Avalon was an ex-RAAF
pilot who is two years younger than
the Air Force he flew for in two wars.
Eric Saltor, 88, joined the Air
Force in April 1941 as an aircraft
engine fitter after completing part of
his apprenticeship with Australian
"I then went to Laverton and did
my rookie's recruit course. Shortly
after that I was tested to become a
pilot at Point Cook," Mr Saltor said.
"After my interview I was told I
was successful. I was put on a train
to Parafield, north of Adelaide, and I
began my pilot training.
"I was really excited. I started
flying Tiger Moths, which I soloed
after eight hours of flight time."
He then trained on twin-engine
aircraft, flying Avro Ansons and
After graduation, Mr Saltor was
told he would be suited to flying
"Because of my education level
I was told I'd fly C-47 (DC-3)
Dakotas," he said. "After I received
my wings I flew to Essendon where
36SQN was being formed."
36SQN flew out of Darwin and
later New Guinea.
"We flew air courier missions
and also used to drop supplies to
the troops on the Kokoda Track. We
also flew wounded soldiers back to
Australia," he said.
"We had a few close calls with
the enemy, but we had American
fighter escorts and we used to fly
into the clouds because the Japanese
weren't very good flying on their
Mr Saltor was wounded during
his time in New Guinea.
"In 1943 we were waiting to take
off in Pedang early one morning
when the Japanese bombed our run-
way and I got hit in my mouth and
head with shrapnel," he said.
"It was very scary, as we had the
aircraft fully loaded up with ammu-
nition and food.
"I was out of action for about
The incident changed the
remainder of his WWII service. He
mainly flew courier missions within
After the war, Mr Saltor stayed
in the Air Force and continued to fly.
"I was sent to Japan flying supplies
into and out of Iwakuni with 77SQN
and we were there when the Korean
War began," he said.
"I flew with 30SQN flying stores
to Korea and wounded soldiers out.
"I flew 333 medivac missions
from Korea to Japan."
After his Korea service, Mr
Saltor flew with Ansett Airways,
firstly flying Bristol Freighters
for two years from 1953, and then
His flying career continued until
1966 when he became ill. He then
continued as a ground engineer until
he retired in 1977.
In his retirement Mr Saltor
couldn't keep away from the air-
craft he spent so much time flying
"In 1983 I approached the Navy
Fleet Air Arm Museum at HMAS
Albatross," Mr Saltor said.
"I've been working on the air-
craft there since [as a volunteer]."
But he still has a soft spot for the
"The C-47 was a wonderful air-
plane to fly, once you got used to it."
PROUD DAK PILOT: In front of a fully-
restored Dakota at the Avalon airshow,
Eric Saltor recalls years of flying C-47
and DC-3 Dakota aircraft in war and
peace. Photo: SGT Andrew Hetherington
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