David Field, the Airline Business Americas editor, writes about one of the late Sir Freddie's later air ventures - an operation he ran between South Florida and the Caribbean islands on behalf of a gambling casino in the mid-1990s.
He used DC-10 trijets for the relatively short hops. At a Washington lunch to garner (translate: purchase, by means of offering free booze) press attention, he turned to the reporter and said by way of explanation: "Always use three engines. You never know when one will go broke and you won't be able to get a spare."
The youngish reporter turned to Laker and asked if this was a reference to the way in which the majors had (allegedly) kept him from getting access to spare parts, rotables and other essentials. Sir Freddie nodded his white-fringed head, winked and said: "Oh no, you know I'm not allowed to talk about that", apparently in reference to the gag-order provisions of the settlement of his lawsuit.
Another Airline Business veteran, Robert Hancock, who labours in the advertising and commercial side, has fond recollections of the time a decade ago when he met Sir Freddie - an icon when Robert was growing up in the UK- after an avation club luncheon address in New York.
"He was his usual witty and down-to-earth himself while making a few comments that made obvious his English roots. I went nervously up to him and said hello to him, proudly presented him my Airline Business business card, which seemed to give me instant credibility. He then promptly introduced me to Mrs. Laker and took me to one side (out of US native earshot) and asked me how I thought the speech went. 'Do you think they understood it okay?' he asked me. I was just really taken back over how normal and friendly he was. After all, he was a Sir."
Meanwhile, Flight International's Commercial Aviation Editor Max Kingsley-Jones recalls earlier memories:
"I have a vivid childhood memory of Sir Freddie's hands-on approach to running his airline. As a nine year old a the end of a family holiday in Tunisia during Christmas 1975, we arrived at Tunis airport for our flight home, only to find that the departure was delayed after the Laker Airways Boeing 707 we were supposed to fly back on had suffered an engine problem at Gatwick.
After a lengthy delay, our 707 finally turned up at Tunis. As we taxied for take-off, the skipper came on the radio to apologise for the delay, informing us that Freddie himself had been down on the apron directing proceedings as mechanics swapped out the Pratt & Whitney JT3D engines.
Whether such a declaration was a standard part of the brief from Laker's pilots after a technical delay I will never know, but it was certainly a very effective damage limitation exercise that left all his passengers with an amusing tale to tell.
I came across Sir Freddie again as an adult while working at an aviation consultancy company in the 1990s. He was setting up his Laker Airways Bahamas operation and we had been tasked by a bank to value one of the 727s he planned to operate. But when our appraisal came up short of the number he needed to make the deal work, he called our office and treated us to some of his legendary charm and determination.
Using first name terms, he spoke to us like an "old dad" trying to cajole us into finding a few more dollars in the aircraft's value. Despite failing to push up our valuation, his new airline still took the air, and we'd had a brief, first hand glimpse of how one of aviation's great characters had been so successful."
Go to the Flight website for Sir Freddie's obituary, lovely pictures of his doomed Skytrain transatlantic service and a link to Flight's story from 1977 reporting on the carrier's first flight.