Steve Darke

Specialist Air Arm:

Thailand

Steve started spotting in the mid-60s, Manchester-based. Lots of cycling to Ringway; even an over-nighter on the old piers (when you could do that kind of thing). Then, after graduating, he got a Private Pilot's Licence at Teeside in 1979. After that, he left the UK and has been a construction-related expat ever since. He's lived and worked in most of the Gulf countries, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Borneo, Singapore and most of that area as well as Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea. He's currently based in Qatar, but his home is in Romania.

His Thai passion started when he was based there in the 1990s. He got to know lots of aviation people, and realised little was really known in the west about aviation in Thailand. So, from there it all started.

 His main focus is civil aviation, but it's hard to separate the two sometimes in Thailand, so he covers all aspects now. Fifteen years of research led to his unique civil aviation book, ‘Royal Orchid’, available on the Air Britain book sales site.

His huge website, www.thai-aviation.net, includes probably the most complete and detailed listings of Thai civil and military aeroplanes available anywhere! It includes highly detailed listings of all the military aircraft ever used by Thailand; Wrecks & Relics; Accidents & Airline Fleets; civil data on Laos, Cambodia, Romania and Qatar; plus a "mere" 10,000 photos!   

There is a link to his ‘Royal Orchid’ book on his site, together with a link to a pdf file update. His other ‘babies’ are incredibly comprehensive listings of both US and non-US Cessna Bird Dogs, and North American T-28s. Detailed production lists also have links on his website.

Steve will be more than happy to answer any queries you may have concerning air operations in Thailand just fill in the query box below and he'll get back to you.

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