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Capt Dick Glassey receives the traditional pilot's retirement after his last flight with Air Niugini. Pushing the wheelchair is Capt Peter Sharpe. At left is Capt Malcom Douglas and at right is Capt Val Lysenko. (Photo: Post-Courier via Peter Sharpe)

The following biography is based on an obituary written by Peter Sharpe and published in the Port Moresby Post-Courier of 1 September 1995


Although Dick Glassey was with Adastra for only a short time in the mid fifties, it is significant that he served his time with the company in Papua New Guinea for he went on to become a central figure in the development of postwar civil aviation in PNG.

Born George Argyle Glassey in Ashburton, New Zealand, Dick acquired his nickname through a childhood fascination with a radio serial about Richard the Lionheart. Thus he became known as Richard which was inevitably shortened to Dick. After leaving school, he joined the New Zealand Army and served several years with the occupation forces in postwar Japan. He then moved to Australia where he cut sugarcane before applying to join the Royal Australian Air Force. After pilot training, he was posted to No 87 (PR) Squadron flying Mosquitoes on photo reconnaissance and aerial survey work. At this time, 87 Squadron was commanded by Ted McKenzie who was later to become Chief Pilot and Operations Manager of Adastra. Ted McKenzie's successor as Operations Manager, Mike Wood, also served in 87 Squadron as did Adastra pilots Graham Holstock and Leon Gordon. Sadly, Graham Holstock lost his life in the crash of Hudson VH-AGO at Horn Island.

Dick Glassey joined Adastra in 1955 flying Hudsons, mainly in PNG. The nomadic lifestyle of a survey pilot did not appeal to Dick as he was then raising a young family, so he joined Mandated Airlines flying DC-3s out of Madang. After Mandated Airlines was taken over by Ansett, Dick managed the light aircraft division of Ansett-MAL. With the decline in the numbers of the light aircraft fleet, Dick became Chief Pilot for Ansett Airlines of Papua New Guinea (formerly Ansett-MAL). In conjunction with another Ansett pilot, Dick sponsored flying training for PNG's first national pilot, Napoleon Onsem. Dick's ongoing involvement in promoting the training of national pilots was one of his proudest achievements. With the approaching independence of PNG, Dick was appointed Chief Pilot of the new nation's carrier, Air Niugini. After his subsequent promotion to Operations Manager of Air Niugini, he helped to set up the National Pilot Training Scheme. Up until his retirement, Dick was flying Fokker F.28s on domestic and international services. After a distinguished flying career, he retired to Brisbane where he drove a taxi for relaxation!

Dick Glassey passed away in Brisbane on 3 August 1995 after a short illness. The pallbearers at his funeral were Captains Aria Bouraga, Lockly Sabumei, Peter Sharpe and Malcolm Douglas, all wearing Air Niugini uniform, representing three decades of PNG aviation.