In the picture: Sir Adrian Swire when he was a pilot with the Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force (Source – The Times)
The Air League wishes to mark the sad passing of our long-term member and supporter, Sir Adrian Christopher Swire. He was the chairman of John Swire & Sons from 1987-1997 and 2002-2004.
He held a life-long passion for flying, holding a private pilot’s licence for 60 years. During his time in Hong Kong, whilst maintaining directorship of several companies, he signed up as a member of the Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force. In 1968 he acquired a Second World War German fighter, a Messerschmitt 109 shortly followed by the Spitfire IX MH434. This was arguably the most famous of all surviving Spitfires and was used in the 1969 film Battle of Britain starring Michael Caine.
Despite the links to Cathay Pacific, Swire only once flew as a Cathay pilot when his lincence was endorsed by the Australian authorities as a “supernumerary first officer under supervision”. He helped to fly Betsy, the company’s first DC3 dating from the 1940s, back to Hong Kong in the mid-1980s.
During his time with the Air League, Sir Adrian Swire served as part of the Air League council from 2000-2007, advising on aviation and aerospace related matters. He has also made a significant contribution to the lives of a generation of aspiring pilots through the sponsorship of 10 annual Air League Flying Scholarships through the Adrian Swire Charitable Trust and the Swire Charitable Trust. These scholarships have played an integral part in making the flying dreams of many future pilots come true and his legacy continues to live on in the success stories of these people.