Date with destiny puts ex-copper on Arab map

By Ieva Tomsons

JULIMAR date farmer Stephen Kelly (68) has worn a lot of very different hats in his life including aircraft engineer, outback cop and prison officer.

He grew up in Sydney and at 16 started an apprenticeship in aircraft engineering with Qantas.

“Those were the days when you could pick and choose what you wanted to do.”
Working for Qantas entitled employees to cheap flights, and Stephen recalls one memorable trip with work mates to Thailand during the Vietnam War in 1970.

“Bangkok Airport was crowded with all sorts of military aircraft and we spent a lot of time watching the B52s taking off to bomb North Vietnam.

They were fully loaded with bombs and needed rockets under the wings to boost their take-off in the humid weather – it really was an awesome sight.”

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