The Ross Vaga Probus meeting on Februart 27 saw a record number of 37 attendees and 13 guests in attendance for a talk titled ‘Crashed and Burned’ given by the speaker Andy Cubin, supported by his cousin Shawna.

Andy was, literally, a high flyer. Having joined the RAF as a fast jet pilot, he flew the Jaguar interdictor during the 80s and 90s, including operational tours in Europe and the Middle East. He was then selected for the Red Arrows aerobatic team - the pinnacle of any pilot’s aspirations. On leaving the RAF, he became a respected and valued commercial airline pilot.

On December 10 2016, his whole world fell apart.

His 14 year-old daughter collapsed and died in his arms. The event of that day and in the ensuing weeks and months brought with it huge trauma (which we refer to today as PTSD). In reviewing his daughter’s mobile ‘phone, it became blatantly obvious that she had been subject to on-line sexual grooming. Whilst Andy immediately notified the police of this, little response was forthcoming. In frustration, he embarked on his own quest to investigate and identify the culprits. In so doing, he broke the law and found himself being investigated without any due consideration of his motive. On top of this, unbalanced press reports ensured the immediate termination of a long and distinguished career, and vilification, before he even had a chance to defend himself at trial.

Andy’s talk was not a vehicle for self atonement or pity. It was a wake-up call to us all. The scourge of the internet and the incredibly destructive harm it can do to individuals, as well as the manipulative ways in which the media distorts the truth for its own ends, were brought into sharp focus.

In his honest and forthright presentation, Andy revealed the scale of the on-line grooming of underage girls. This insipid activity invades all walks of life and which cannot be disinvented, merely controlled. Millions of images are bandied around in the ether. Its proliferation is such that the authorities acknowledge their impotence in tackling the problem.

Andy made no apologies for the deeply disturbing aspects of his talk. His book ‘Crashed and Burned’ - a RAF euphemism - brings home what has happened to Andy, and how he is now trying to put all the shattered pieces back together.

Vaga Probus is a men’s group that meets twice a month in Ross. Visitors are very welcome. If you have an interest in visiting or indeed have a talk you would like to deliver, please contact the Secretary on [email protected]. Further details are on the website at