Heathrow’s longest serving airfield officer, Steve Killick MBE, has today retired after 41 years working at the airport. From all of us at Heathrow we say thank you. Below are some of the great photos from Steve’s career he shared with us during Series 2 of Heathrow: Britain’s Busiest Airport. Enjoy!
The below article was originally published on 11 June 2015.
In 1976 the first Commercial Concorde flight took off, the UK’s Brotherhood of Man won Eurovision with Save your Kisses for Me, and Liverpool won the UEFA Cup for a second time. It was also the year that Steve Killick started his career at Heathrow.
Steve Killick, featured above this summer and in the late 70’s when he started, has sent through some great images from his nearly 40 years of service which we’re sharing with you. Born and bred in West Drayton, both Steve’s Dad and his grandfather worked at the airport – the latter in a company that initially helped build the runways in the 40’s!
Significantly, Steve Killick was also welcomed into the Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) on as part of The Queen’s Birthday Hnoours in 1999.
Steve features briefly in episode 2 of Britain’s Busiest Airport – Heathrow, so keep an eye out for him!
Steve is pictured here cleaning up a runway guard amber next to the Northern runway. As Steve explains, “Back in those days you really had to rug up, and one of the things we had to do was dig out the ambers as they would often be frozen over.” The aircraft pictured is a Pan American Airlines 727 which was used for routes between Germany and Heathrow. The Compass Centre, now Heathrow HQ and previously British Airways World HQ, is now located in the background area of this photograph. Source: Steve Killick
Steve is pictured here in the late 70’s/early 80’s in the old BAA operations control room. This was situation at the bottom of the cargo “horseshoe” – a formation that still excisted today. In this photo Steve is controlling the day to day activity on the airfield in this photo.
For a period during the 80’s Steve was an aircraft marshaller. Picture in this photo is a LOT Airlines aircraft. As Steve explains, “Not everyone could do it. You can imagine with four engines coming towards you, you had to make sure you gave the correct signals to the pilot and quickly.” Source: Steve Killick
This image was taken in front of the Hunting Hangar – roughly where Terminal 4 now sits – around 1980. The vehicle, a Morris Marina, was one of the airside safety vehicles of the day used by the staff to pick up debris off the runway and keep safety in check. Steve was aged in his 30’s in this picture. Source: Steve Killick
The British Airways Trident fleet, pictured at Terminal 1 – believed to be pier 3, was an iconic site at Heathrow during the 80’s. In the background on the left is The Queen’s Building, which was famous for its public rooftop viewing platform. Source: Steve Killick
This shot was taken in the 80’s from a Heathrow owned aircraft that was used to check the airfield including runway lighting – in this shot is runway 10L as it was known in those days. This Rockwell Commander Strike aircraft and others like it, are no longer used, with airside safety officers now checking the airfield on the ground. Source: Steve Killick
This image was taken from the BAA Ground Operations building on the southside of the airport circa the 1980’s. Seen in the background are BOAC’s long-haul overseas division aircraft including VC10’s and 707’s. If you look closely, the tail fin of a Pan American Airlines Boeing 747 can be seen as well. Source: Steve Killick
This shot was taken virtually at the start of the excavation and construction of Terminal 4, which was open in 1986 by Prince Charles and Princess Diana. To put Steve’s career in perspective, while he has worked at Heathrow he’s seen the following: the London underground link opened, Terminal 4 and 5 have been opened, the older Terminal 2 was demolished and a new one constructed, and the retirement of Concorde!
Terminal 5 is now located a stone’s throw behind where this image was taken from – just next to the village Poyle and some balancing ponds. These ponds were (and still are) used to maintain the water pressure for fighting fires and assisting with water drainage of the airport. Even back then Heathrow was employing methods to treat and recycle waste at the airport using a variety of measures – including these ponds. In this shot Steve is at the western end of the Northern Runway and the vehicle is an old Landrover which he recalls had “very poor heating in the winter months”. The green light on top of the vehicle would be switched on if the team were transporting medical staff, who in those days were directly employed by BAA, to the site of an emergency. Source: Steve Killick
Find out more about Steve, here.