George Lee (pilot)

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George Lee MBE
George Lee (pilot).jpg
Full nameDouglas George Lee
Born (1945-11-07) 7 November 1945 (age 73)
Dublin, Ireland
Nationalityborn Irish, naturalised British, now Australian
EducationRoyal Air Force engineering apprenticeship in aircraft electrical systems
SpouseMaren Lee
RelativesSonja Lee and Brian Lee - children
Aviation career
Known forMultiple Open-class Gliding World Championship winner
Air forceRoyal Air Force
RankSquadron Leader
Racing career
First race1974 British National Gliding Championship
Best positionThree times world champion: 1976, 1978 & 1981
AircraftSchempp-Hirth Nimbus-3

Douglas George Lee MBE (born 7 November 1945) is a glider pilot who was world gliding champion on three consecutive occasions.

He was born in Dublin, Ireland. He joined the Royal Air Force as an engineering apprentice at the age of sixteen in 1962,[1] becoming a British subject. He completed his training as an electrical fitter and in 1967 he was selected for officer and pilot training. He joined an operational squadron in 1971 flying Phantoms. He left the RAF in 1983 as a Squadron Leader and joined Cathay Pacific to fly Boeing 747s.[2]

During his apprenticeship he began gliding with the Royal Air Force Gliding & Soaring Association, winning his first British National Championship in 1974 in an ASW17.[3] He was selected for the British Team for the World Gliding Championships at Räyskälä in Finland in 1976 and won the Open Class in an ASW17.[4] He then won the following two World Championships at Châteauroux in France 1978 (also in an ASW17) and at Paderborn in Germany 1981 in a Nimbus-3, becoming the first person to win three successive World Championship titles.[5] He flew in two more World Championships but his home in Hong Kong had reduced his opportunities for gliding and so he was out of practice.[1]

He received several awards including the MBE, the Royal Aero Club's Gold Medal in 1976,[6] the Britannia Trophy (twice)[7][8] and the Lilienthal Gliding Medal.[9] In 1978 he took Prince Charles for his first flight in a glider.[10]

He bought a farm near Dalby[11] in Queensland in 1996 in anticipation of his retirement in 1999.[1] He established a small airfield there and is now an Australian citizen. With his Schempp-Hirth Nimbus-4DM, he taught advanced pilots for ten years. He and his wife, Maren, are now active in their church and in politics in Queensland. They have two children, Sonja and Brian. He published his autobiography, Hold Fast To Your Dreams, in 2013,[1][12] which was also published in Polish in 2015 as Uwierz w marzenia.[1][13]

See also[edit]

List of glider pilots


  1. ^ a b c d e "George Lee's web-page for his autobiography". Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  2. ^ "RAF Gliding Association web-site". Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  3. ^ "Kestrel 19 Wins!" (PDF). Sailplane & Gliding. 25 (4). Aug–Sep 1974. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 July 2014. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  4. ^ "World Championships' Final Result" (PDF). Sailplane & Gliding. 27 (4). Aug–Sep 1976. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 July 2014. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  5. ^ "Flight International archive". Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  6. ^ "Royal Aero Club web-site". Retrieved 10 June 2012.
  7. ^ "Flight International Archive". 29 December 1979. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
  8. ^ "Flight International Archive". 18 December 1982. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
  9. ^ "FAI web-site giving list of medal winners". Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  10. ^ "First Glider Flight for Prince Charles" (PDF). Sailplane & Gliding. 29 (4). Aug–Sep 1978. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 July 2014. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  11. ^ "Dalby Info". Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  12. ^ Lee, George (1 Mar 2013). Hold Fast To Dreams. Evangelista Media. ISBN 8897896219.
  13. ^ Lee, George (29 Jun 2015). Uwierz w Marzenia. Elay-SCG. ISBN 9788393282661.