Fruitvale has its very own Top Gun pilot: A Royal Air Force veteran

Treverton (middle) flying helicopters with the Royal Navy display team in 1988. Photo: Vince TrevertonTreverton (middle) flying helicopters with the Royal Navy display team in 1988. Photo: Vince Treverton
Treverton (middle) flying helicopters with the Royal Navy display team in 1988. Photo: Vince TrevertonTreverton (middle) flying helicopters with the Royal Navy display team in 1988. Photo: Vince Treverton

As Tom Cruise fans and action fanatics rush to theatres to reconnect with Lt. Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell – nearly four decades since he first graced the big screen – one Fruitvale veteran is taking his own walk down memory lane.

For 65-year-old Vince Treverton, watching Top Gun: Maverick at the Royal Theatre in Trail brought back memories from his time with the Royal Air Force.

“I thought the film was a very accurate portrayal of life flying planes,” Treverton told Black Press Media in a phone interview from his home.

Born and raised in the South London town of Croydon, England, Treverton first became interested in planes as a boy. The former Croydon Airport (which now serves as an aviation museum) was where he was first exposed to planes.

Vince Treverton (far left) and his classmates at Royal Air Force Chivenor, in 1980. At this site, Treverton learned air combat including the use of machine guns and bombs. Photo: Vince Treverton

Vince Treverton (far left) and his classmates at Royal Air Force Chivenor, in 1980. At this site, Treverton learned air combat including the use of machine guns and bombs. Photo: Vince Treverton

After developing an interest in flying, Treverton joined the air cadets at age 13.

By the time he began university, Treverton had won a scholarship from the Royal Air Force based on his participation in the cadets throughout high school. The scholarship allowed him to attend university at Imperial College London where he studied aeronautical engineering.

During his 19-year career with the Royal Air Force, Treverton spent time learning to fly several different aircraft at sites across the United Kingdom, including a stint at Royal Air Force Alconbury in 1981. The station is located near Huntingdon, England and has been used by the U.S. Air Force since 1951.

“That was almost exactly the way it was in the Top Gun movies.”

On social media, fans have shared their thoughts on the movie, noting the themes of teamwork and leadership as key to its success.

“Having experienced all of those things, and knowing what it takes to be in the Air Force, it was a really emotional movie for me,” Treverton said.

Of all his memories from his flying career, Treverton looks particularly fondly upon his time training at the Royal Air Force Chivenor station where he engaged in air combat training “just like the characters in Top Gun.”

Upon retiring from the Royal Air Force in 1994, Treverton spent 23 years as a commercial airline pilot with Cathay Pacific Airways, retiring in 2021.

Treverton (second from left) and his colleagues before the last flight of his commercial career. Treverton retired in 2021. Photo: Vince Treverton

Treverton (second from left) and his colleagues before the last flight of his commercial career. Treverton retired in 2021. Photo: Vince Treverton

In 2015, while flying for Cathay Pacific Airways, Treverton met his wife, Susan, in Hong Kong. The couple bonded over their shared enthusiasm for hiking.

As Treverton’s flying career came to a close, the couple decided to move to B.C. in order to be close to friends. They now live together in Fruitvale.

Although his professional flying career is over, Treverton is now a member of the Trail Flying Club and can be found flying the club’s Cessna 172 for leisure.

Read more: Music in the Park returns to Trail this week

Read more: #LocalHistory



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