Tommy Hanley, Aviator
He was born in Co Mayo, Ireland. His childhood was spent at Lios un Uisce, Knockmore, and he attended the local school where his father was the Master. Later he became a boarder at St. Muredachs College Ballina. After secondary education, he began medical studies at the College of Surgeons Dublin. Because of the sudden death of his father. Tommy abandoned a medical career and applied to attend an entrance exam for the Irish Air Corps. He was successful, and joined the First Army Class of Cadets of the fledgeling Irish State. The year was 1926.
Some photographs here indicate his flying career. It included both Aerobatics, and Flying Instruction, at which he was specially gifted. Instrument flying and Navigation were imparted without measure. In 1939, he moved to Aer Lingus which was trying to expand. His Army appointment was Chief Flying Instructor at that time. This move denoted his ambition for Irish Aviation, and to dint the military rejection of mixing training for both Civil and Military Flying. It was the essential way to progress, and development of the metier, in a small island country.
The second world war interrupted Civilian Flight, and for the duration of that time Tommy Hanley was back in the Air Corps. During the first few years of the war he was O.C. of Coastal Patrol based at Rineanna (now Shannon Airport). There were many aspects making it a very difficult posting for everyone, not least the hazardous weather on the western seaboard of Ireland.
At the conclusion of the Second World War between the protagonists England and Germany Tommy returned to flying passengers between Ireland, England, and Europe. A short time in the USA was ended, when a change of Government abandoned the new Atlantic Airline Airlinte. Atlantic sojourn over, it was back to the DC-3 again for Tommy Hanley. His friends tried to persuade him emigration was best; he thought perhaps there was still a role for him in Ireland, and stayed.