The Beagle Editor,
You may recall a story on Rex Aviation some time back, where a spokesperson indicated concern that International Airlines were ‘raiding’ pilots from Australian Airlines. Although I had knowledge of a particular pilot concerned – in deference to him & his family- I was asked to withhold the story till all was fully confirmed and “things had settled down”.
I can now reveal that pilot was Captain Alex Preddey, whose story of attaining his Captaincy with Rex was told recently on Beagle. I was priviledged to receive a call from Alex and to hear details of the preceding ‘events & happenings’.
He was in a group of several Aussie pilots that received an invite from Emirates to be interviewed re possibility of flying with that Airline. They were joined with another 24 in Dubai to make up 30 or so. That is the number of prospective pilots interviewed and processed by Emirates each week to keep pace with demands of a massive Airline that services several hundred routes around the world.
His group was set a number of ‘tasks’ to perform and to see how well he and the others worked together. They were interviewed individually and given a thorough medical examination- finishing with a check by a Psychiatrist.
They were then given time in an Aircraft Simulator relevant to the controls of a Triple Seven to assess time taken to familliarise with controls and flight capability of a large aircraft. Only six or so are usually selected each week from the thirty interviewed by Emirates. “It was gruelling – and he was glad to get home”, said Alex.
Although these events occurred some back before October – Alex was due to be married on Oct.20 and start work with Emirates Oct.25th – a but the Airline tried to get Alex to forgo his marriage date and start earlier. It didn’t happen – he is now happily married and flying the skies around the world, “Leaving Rex was like losing his family”, said Alex.
On limbs of the “Preddey Family Tree”- Alex is five ‘greats’ down from the original George Preddey, who was a transported convict to Sydney in 1827-28. (full story on Beagle in letters/opinion – (writings of Norm Moore)
Alex is the eldest grandson of John Preddey, who, - with brothers Peter & Brian, developed the famous Bi-lock, used for security in buildings in thousands of cities & towns around the world. He is three ‘greats’ down from Arthur Halley Preddey – builder of Moruya’s Silly Willys.
Above: Arthur Halley Preddey
You may recall a story wherein Arthur ran a hire car business in the 1920’s and 30’s over the roughest of roads around Moruya. I pointed this out to Alex, (his 3rd grandson) who was flying the most modern of aircraft in the skies over those same roads, and then posed this question, asking :-
“Alex- with a proposed unmanned flight to Mars about 2020, and this followed with possibility of manned flight in 2022, and given the time lapse and advance in technology from convict George in 1827, and you now about to fly huge jetliners-would you think that one day your (maybe not even) great grand kids might become Spaceship Captains ?” Alex agreed with me – there seemed every possibility”.
It’s getting to be a long time since a ‘young lad’ pinched a knife & fork and was given the choice to be “hung by the neck until dead” or transportation to Australia. Glad we all are - young George Preddey, and many like him - chose the latter.