It is with great sadness that I have to inform you of the passing of Captain Alan Dix. Acclaimed presenter of both the Airbus A320-200 and Airbus A320 Simulator ITVV programmes.
Alan was a true friend to ITVV and played an important part in the success of ITVV.
Alan had such an amazing personality coupled with his great sense of humour and superb comedy timing. He was a natural in front of the camera and really “came across”. He was relaxed, calm, collected, knowledgeable and humorous, all in one take.
I would say to him “Alan, can you talk about the effects of Wind Shear and he would say “standby”, 10 seconds later he would deliver a faultless five minute piece to camera! He was an absolute joy to work with.
I recall telling him that we were just about to go on holiday and flying out of Manchester. He asked when we were flying as he was Manchester based that week. When I told him the date he said he was on a rest day and could we meet up for coffee prior to our flight. When we arrived at his hotel he greeted us complete with dicky bow tie! We had a wonderful couple of hours in his company, as always. On our outbound flight a stewardess turned up with a bottle of champagne with the compliments of Captain Dix!
Alan was a frequent visitor to the ITVV offices. He was fascinated by the process of filming, editing and duplication. He also enjoyed a walk along the seafront and a rather large portion of Fish, Chips and Mushy Peas!
Alan received a lot of Fan Mail which we forwarded to him. He made sure that he answered each and every letter and enjoyed providing additional answers to fans questions on the programmes.
Sadly in 2001 Alan suffered a rather bad horse-riding accident which resulted in a long stay in hospital and ultimately the loss of his medical for flying. At that time, we did have plans for a further two programmes featuring Alan which of course had to be shelved.
With the very kind permission of Mr Ray Pearce, a lifelong friend of Alan and his family, I would like to share some of the rather wonderful Eulogy that Ray presented at Alan’s funeral on August 16th 2021: -
Tomorrow, August 17th, will be the 60th anniversary of the commissioning of Acting Pilot Officer Alan Campbell Dix on completion of his RAF officer training course.
Alan started work in his father’s commercial art studio. He was complaining one evening, at his girlfriend Tric’s house, that he needed to find something else to do. Her mother pushed an advertisement in the Evening Standard, recruiting pilots for the RAF, towards him and said “try that”. He did.
I met Alan at the start of his South Cerney officer training course in May 1961. He made quite an impact, mainly because of the green suede boots and the guitar slung casually over his shoulder. Having graduated, he started initial pilot training at Acklington in Northumberland and Alan showed that he was one of those fortunate people who can scan a document and then recall its content in detail.
His was one of the first RAF flying courses to use only jet aircraft, initially, the Jet Provost and then the Vampire at RAF Valley on Anglesey.
After completing the Hunter conversion course Alan was posted to No.8 Sqn in Aden.
During his off-duty hours, unconventionally, Alan gravitated to the Airmen’s Mess to play his guitar and joined a Rhythm and Blues group called “Neurosis”.
He organised an audition with the British Forces Broadcasting Services unit which resulted in the group featuring often on the BFBS airwaves.
Leaving the Air Force in 1969 he gained his commercial flying licences and joined Dan Air to fly BAC 1-11’s taking holiday makers to and from Luton Airport.
In 1977 Alan returned to aerobatics. Preferring not to spill the Dan Air passenger’s drinks, he joined the Tiger Club at Redhill. In ‘78 he won the Air Squadron Trophy Competition in a Stampe. In the remark’s column of his log-book he wrote “beat 2 Pitts and won £50.” In Sept he became the British Intermediate Aerobatics Champion. After a flight in October he wrote in his logbook: - practised 10 normal and inverted spins, last spin engine stopped at 2000 feet, unable to dive from low level – landed downwind in field – 163 yards hedge to hedge - take off OK - bumpy!
Another note in the remark’s column of his logbook for Sept 27th 1978 says “Rothman’s Job” with 6 exclamation marks.
He left Dan Air to join the highly regarded Rothman’s aerobatic team for their last year of operation in January 1979. After completing the UK air-show circuit, their year ended with a 3-month display tour of Malaysia and the far East
He joined Air Europe in 1980 and went on to become Chief Pilot with the unusual distinction of holding CAA type rating examiner status on the Boeing 737-300, Boeing 757, Fokker 100 and Airbus A320.
Throughout those years our families spent a lot of time and several holidays together. Whenever we met we laughed a lot. We persuaded Alan, who had always been averse to sporting activity, to try skiing. Although a bit of a horizontal and bruised skier for the first couple of days, he got the bug and became a keen and accomplished skier.
Scheduled to fly the summer season of ’83 out of Birmingham Airport he decided to live on a Thames cabin cruiser rather than in an hotel. He bought his cruiser in late ’82 and renamed her Penny Pincher. He kept a ship’s log. On 31st March with Joel [Alan's eldest Son] and Rufus [Alan’s youngest Son] as crew he set sail for Birmingham. A trip of nearly 200 miles with about 200 locks to be negotiated. The twelve-year-old Rufus wrote an entry in the log which says: - “Left the boatyard. Don’t know what we have let ourselves in for. Dad says “I can do it all myself” and we are wondering why we were invited!” Alan’s hand completes the page with a capital letter entry of “BECAUSE I NEED SOMEONE TO SHOUT AT, RUFUS!”
In the early 90’s Alan joined Cardiff based airline Inter European Airways as Chief Pilot.
The only time I flew with Alan was when he volunteered to be the examiner for my instrument rating renewal on a Piper Aztec in 1993. The carefully selected test route took us from Biggin Hill to France. His examiner’s fee was a lunch at the Michelin rated Le Pavillon restaurant in Le Touquet, France.
When IEA was sold to Airtours International in 1994 Alan formed Airworld Aviation with two of his friends. The airline was the first British charter operator of the Airbus A321. The airline was integrated into Flying Colours in 1998 when Thomas Cook acquired the Flying Colours Leisure Group.
I would like to offer my sincere condolences to Rufus Dix, Ray Pearce along with Alan’s family, friends and of course his army of ITVV Fans.
I am forever grateful for our time together both in front of the camera and off screen. Alan was a true Officer and a Gentleman.
Rest In Peace Captain Dix
ITVV Director / Producer