In a lifetime of fascination and involvement with aviation, the career of Sir Peter Masefield has included a diversity of tasks. He has brought his practical skills and professional business acumen to aircraft manufacturing, aviation publishing, wartime government, and both airline and airport management. His working life began at Fairey Aviation as a junior draughtsman. To supplement his meagre weekly income he also began writing articles for "The Aeroplane" magazine. Masefield's career next changed to that of a wartime correspondent. He flew operationally with the US 8th Bomber Command based in Britain and was soon invited to America for a comprehensive tour of their aircraft industry. He sent his despatches to "The Sunday Times" and made many broadcasts to American audiences. His appointment as personal adviser on civil aviation to the Lord Privy Seal and Secretary of the War Cabinet Committee on Post-war Civil Air Transport meant he played a key part in the decision making that would affect British aircraft design and airline structure in the 1940s and 50s.
In 1949 Masefield became Deputy Chief Executive of British European Airways, then struggling with problems of uneconomical aircraft, overmanning and low passenger numbers. The years between 1955 and 1960 saw him at the head of the Bristol Aeroplane Company which was then engaged upon the introduction of their famous Britannia airliner. With the absorption of Bristol into the British Aircraft Corporation, Masefield's career moved into the field of light aircraft and the creation of Beagle-Auster Aircraft. The latter years of his diverse career occupied him with the operation of Britain's principal airports, when he became chairman of the British Airports Authority (BAA). His story has much detail concerning aircraft and the politicians and personalities of aviation.