At the Tangmere Military Aviation Museum Annual General Meeting held at the end of April Group Captain David Baron OBE was appointed as the Museum’s new Chairman. David’s flying career began when he joined the RAF as an officer cadet in 1960 and, after receiving his commission in 1961, underwent pilot training on the Provost T1 and Vampire T11. Following operational conversion on the Hunter, he spent two years on No 8 Squadron in Aden. Returning to the UK in 1965, he completed the Central Flying School Course and thereafter spent three years instructing on the Gnat and Hunter at RAF Valley.
He undertook the first RAF conversion course on the Phantom FGR2 in 1968/69 and spent three years as a pilot and QFI in No 6 Squadron, followed by a year with the Phantom Operational Conversion Unit as an instructor and flight examiner. On promotion to Squadron Leader rank in 1972, he was posted on exchange to the USAF F4 Central Instructors’ School at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona.
David returned to the UK in March 1975 and, after a short MOD tour in operational analysis, completed the RAF Staff College Course and then a two-year Air Staff tour with responsibility for the postings and career development of “fast-jet” pilots. Thereafter, as a Wing Commander, he commanded No 14 Squadron from July1980 until July 1983 operating the Jaguar in the Strike/Attack role at RAF Bruggen in Germany before returning to the MOD Air Staff as manager of the Jaguar and Harrier aircraft fleets. He was appointed OBE (Military Division) in the New Year’s Honours List 1984.
On promotion to Group Captain rank in 1985, he was posted as Head of the Long Term Planning Branch at HQ Allied Forces Central Europe in the Netherlands. Thence in 1987 to command RAF Church Fenton in Yorkshire – an appointment which, in addition to the standard range of station commander duties, incorporated instructional flying on the Jet Provost. A three-year tour at HQ British Forces Cyprus as Assistant Chief of Staff, Operations followed from 1989 to 1992 and, thereafter, a final three years was spent at the MOD, first as Director for RAF special projects and then as Head of the RAF’s Management Consultancy Unit. David has over 3500 fast jet hours in his log book and retired from the RAF in February 1996 after 35 years 4 months service. He has been a Museum trustee since 2003.