well documented that the Boeing 707 brought about a revolution in
air travel. What is not so widely appreciated is that it also heralded
great progress in the use of flight simulators. Although primitive
by today's standards, the first Qantas Boeing 707 simulator was
not that far removed from the ubiquitous Link Trainer familiar to
In 1958, Qantas tasked Bill Field to supervise the construction
and commissioning of their first 707 simulator. This was cutting
edge work as the simulator was developed in parallel with the aeroplane
itself and there were frequent delays awaiting performance data
from Boeing. Bill and his colleagues often worked through the night
building and redesigning amplifiers to make the simulator behave
more like the aeroplane. The team was under constant pressure to
bring the simulator into service to free up flying time for commercial
service. Frequently they had to rely on their own resourcefulness
to get the job done. Amidst the glamour associated with the introduction
of new aeroplane, the simulator team often felt a lack of recognition
for their efforts. Nevertheless, their contributions were instrumental
in further establishing the renowned Qantas culture of technical
excellence. Their efforts highlight a time when Qantas prided itself
on its self-sufficiency and its ability to do everything itself
in-house. Sadly this is not considered so important these days but
the culture of technical excellence remains.
Bill Field's story was published in 2012 in Aviation Heritage,
the Journal of the Aviation Historical Society of Australia with
much support and encouragement from his son Peter and from noted
aviation historian Greg Banfield.
In 2013, Bill Field visited the Qantas training centre with his
son Peter and flew the 747-400 and A330 simulators quite competently
at the age of 89 - after a 35 year absence from the "left hand seat".
Bill passed away on 17 February 2017, at the age of 93.
Greg Banfield passed away in November 2016.
is Bill Field's story:
with permission from the Aviation Historical Society of Australia
In memory of Bill Field and Greg Banfield