Capt Francis George Monkhouse Sparks




"'Sparks', (or 'Sparkie'), the chief flying instructor of the London Aero Club from 1925. "One of the best-known flying instructors in England".

In 1927, "The leading spirit in the daily routine of flying is the Chief Instructor, Captain Sparks. He has an incurable and infectious optimism which immediately calms and assures the most diffident of pupils. He is possessed with an almost whirlwind energy, and this, together with his fluent and arresting conversation, makes all who come in contact with him unusually alert and active. It is impossible to have the slightest lack of confidence in him as an instructor or imagine him in any difficulty in the air. He is, perhaps, an unconventional pilot instructor, for so many of them are very taciturn and almost dour, due, no doubt, to the long strain of instructional flying.

He is a pilot of long experience, having been flying since December, 1915, when he joined the RFC. After the war he took up joy-ride flying, and he continued with that to the time he joined the London Club in 1925; flying for the Welsh Aviation Co., the Berkshire Aviation Co and also forming a company himself. He has taken up 57,000 people in his varied career."

His pupils included Lady Bailey, Winifred Spooner, Lady Heath, Dorothy Brewster Fletcher and Sicele O'Brien.

He emigrated to Canada and "held Canadian Commercial Pilot's Certificate #269. He flew for McCall Aero Corp, Calgary AB and London Flying Club, London Ontario.

His fatal accident on 16th March 1934 was as a result of taking-off in Curtiss-Reid Rambler I CF-AUO with the starboard upper wing not locked, it folded after take-off. The Rambler wings could be folded for storage."

Source: Canadian Aviation Historical Society publications THE FIRST 500 CANADIAN CIVIL PILOTS (Molson) and CANADIAN CIVIL AIRCRAFT REGISTER (Ellis).

His younger son, Wing Commander Bryan Sparks DSO, was killed in WWII, on August 11 1945.


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