Rex claims his earliest memories of aviation are of diving into an Anderson air raid shelter to avoid German bombs, along with watching newly-built Bristol Beaufighters flying from a local airfield in Cheshire. It began a love of aircraft that continues seven decades on.
In 1962, while working with BEA at Heathrow, he and Alan Chalkely began to rebuild a 1947 Piper Cub. G-ASPS became the first factory-built Piper to be allowed to operate on a PFA Permit to Fly. Coates also rebuilt the last remaining Miles M.18 trainer, a Miles Monarch and Messenger (RG333 `Monty’s Messenger’) and more recently while living part of his time in France, a Morane 733 Halcyon and a Nord 1203. He’s also been involved in home-building too, with a Starduster and a Rutan Vari-Viggen to his credit.
At 81 Rex remains highly active as an LAA Inspector, overseeing maintenance and restoration on a variety of aircraft, and on a couple of new, but still top-secret projects!