Robert Prest was born in 1949 and educated at Downside School. He obtained a flying scholarship and joined the RAF in 1968. After basic training on Jet Provosts and advanced training on Gnats and Hunters, he graduated from the Phantom OCU (Operational Conversion Unit) in 1971. His first operational posting was to 43 Squadron at Leuchars. He returned to Coningsby for the QWI (Qualified Weapons Instructor) course, after which he completed 3 years on the OCU staff, where his speciality was teaching Air Combat Tactics. Following tours with 92 and 23 Squadrons, he left the RAF in 1980. The next five years were spent flying Jaguars in Oman with SOAF (Sultan of Oman's Air Force) and Nigeria (with British Aerospace Jaguar Training team). That marked the end of his military flying. Since then, he has pursued a civil aviation career with various airlines in the Middle and Far East, flying a variety of Boeing and Airbus aircraft, from the B737 and B767 to the A330/340 and B747, finally retiring on the B777. In retirement, he still maintains a passion for aviation, albeit in the slightly slower form of floatplanes.