Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Share Your Story: Cecil Mullins, Author, B707/African Bush Pilot

Welcome to the ninth "Share Your Story" post. Pilots from around the world write in featuring their flight experiences, promoting their blogs, websites, social media, etc.These posts show future aviators the diverse range of careers available to them. More details + how to participate are here: Click Here and Get Involved

Cecil is an accomplished pilot and author who has flown in all corners of the world. From Boeing 707's to Military Tankers to Bush Flying in Africa, he shares his story, how he got into flying, and the variety of jobs he held, right here on the blog. His book, The African Bush Pilot, is well worth a read for any aspiring pilot. His second addition of the novel was released just a few days ago! Thanks for writing in Cecil, here he is: 


Welcome to Cecil Mullins: 

I grew up as A Good-Ole Country Boy in the coal fields of Southwest Virginia, with a dream of flying the beautiful Boeing 707 that had just begun flying the sky’s in the mid 1950s.

Cecil on the right

I escaped spending my life working in the coal mines by joining the Air Force. In the first years of my Air Force, my assignment was to be an aircraft jet mechanic. From being a mechanic I requested the duties of a flying boom operator on the KC-97G tankers, while on duty with the Tennessee Air National Guard, further advancing to the flight engineer position. All at the same time I still held on to my dream of becoming a pilot on the beautiful Boeing 707, while training on the small aircraft to get my pilots licenses. I also ended up with a flight instructor certificate, A&P, Reciprocating and Jet flight engineer certificate and four type ratings on the L-188, B-727, B-707/720 and DC-8.

KC-97 Refueling Boom

During the period of duty with the Tennessee Air National Guard, in 1968 I volunteered for special duty status with an organization called “Joint Church Aid USA’, which was supporting the country of Biafra during a revolutionary war from the country of Nigeria. From this point, there was no turning back. I became a pilot on the C-97 Stratofreighter, which we used to carry supplies to the Biafra Ibo Tribe to Uli air strip within the country. After that, the same company organized “Foundation for Airborne Relief” which was destined to support Bangladesh around 1972 by getting C-133s from the bone yard in Arizona for the mission.

This is the C-97 we got in the tree tops in Biafra 

While maintaining my position with the Tennessee Air National Guard, the KC-97s were replaced by    KC-135s in 1978 which did not require flight engineers. I then took up residence at Charleston S.C. flying C-141s. This organization took me to virtually every country in the world.

The C-141

While at Charleston, I finally acquired a civilian flying position with Fleming Airways in Miami. This was a non-scheduled cargo carrier which were operating L-188 (Lockheed Electra’s). After a while I upgraded to captain of the ship and later to check captain. I continued with this company until 1985, when I went with Air Atlanta, a small scheduled executive type carrier located in Atlanta, Ga. This was like dying and going to heaven, compared to the dark thirty, back alley cargo flying.

Lockheed Electra 188

After Air Atlanta went tits up, I scooted over to Independent Air (The Atlanta Skylarks) where I finally saw my dreams reach fruition by flying the beautiful Boeing-707. This company was a primarily vacation charter carrier that also covered lots of the world, mostly the Caribbean Islands, Mexico, parts of Europe and many other places. We also did a around the world trip with the company. I was selected to be the chief pilot and check captain of this organization.

Independent Air Boeing 707

After that, I flew with Gulf Air, Emory Worldwide, Private Jet Expeditions and Nations Air. I was also one of the check captains for Nations Air.

In 1991 it was back to the jungles of Africa with a company called Transafrik, flying cargo and whatever else into the war zone of Angola. This carried on until 1994. One would need to read my book to view the nature of this operation. (If you have viewed the movie “Air America”, you have an idea, except we were flying jets). I retired from the Airlines at the young age of 60 in 1996.


Thanks so much Cecil for sharing your incredible career with us. It's an amazing thing to see the diverse range of careers you held flying around the world. It motivates me to work hard and think not just of the typical "airline jobs," but to see the range of opportunities there are around the world in places like Africa for pilots. 

Cecil is an accomplished author that just released his second addition of "The African Bush Pilot." See and buy his fantastic novel here: The African Bush Pilot

Thanks again for writing in and participating in the Share Your Story section of the blog, 

Swayne Martin 
Martins Aviation / From Private to Professional Pilot
Twitter: @MartinsAviation
Youtube: MartinsAviation1 


  1. Cecil... I just ordered your book. Looking forward to a great read. And today, it's no coincidence, check out Flight To Success. The Great Africa Air Safari is in progress. Three Beavers and three Wacko pilots. I'm thinking you might want to join the journey.

    Looking forward to your book. Will do a write up on my blog about it.

    And... you are definitely going to have to check out mine too. A retired pilot... think you will love it.

    Swayne, Thank you for another great post!

  2. Thanks for leaving a comment Karlene!

    I'm going to make sure to check out the Great African Air Safari as well!

    Thanks again,

  3. Karlene, Swayne and other readers I have had the opportunity to talk to Cecil Mullins several time and I am proud to call him my friend. I have also read his book, I think you will enjoy his book too Karlene. Both of you have flown the "Big Iron" so you have a lot in common. I am very proud to be able to call both of you my friends. JR Hafer, aviation writer

    1. Thanks for leaving a comment!

      Cecil and Karlene are both amazing people aren't they? I'm privileged to get to know them!

      Hope you enjoy the blog!
      -Swayne Martin

  4. What a cool story. That is what makes aviation awesome to me. How many other careers will literally take you around the world. It makes it exciting to look towards the future in my career.

  5. Cecil Mullins "The African-Bush Pilot"May 17, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    Thanks for this great blog Swayne. I will be here for any help you may need for your ventures.

  6. This is a wonderful read about a wonderful man. I am proud to call Cecil Mullins my uncle.
    Jamie Large

  7. Great courier and great story Cecil and thanks for sharing it with us. I have flown B707 as copilot in the 70s. As a matter of fact the beautiful 707 was the first airplane I flew after having 200 hours of Cesena 150, 172 and Travel Beechcraft getting my commercial, Instrument and Multi Engine licenses. Flown B727 as flight engineer, copilot and captain and another two heavier ones. Sounds like your flying has been more fun and exciting than mine. I would try to get your book and would read it with pleasure. As everything else and as we call it the good old days, I believe even flying was better during those good old days. Take care my friend.


Thanks for your comment; I really appreciate it! Glad you are here with me on the blog. If your comment does not appear right away, it will after verification.

Many Thanks, Happy Flying,
Swayne Martin