Frank Hitchens was born in Birmingham, England. At the age of seventeen years he joined the British Merchant Navy as a ship’s steward and travelled the world. He settled in New Zealand in 1965 and worked on the Inter Island ferries between Wellington and Lyttleton. While working on these ferries he joined the Wellington Aero Club and gained his Private Pilot Licence within six months of learning to fly and later, his Commercial Licence. He flew charter flights and joy rides for the club and enjoyed the challenges of cross-country flying and air navigation around New Zealand. He flew mostly single-engine light aircraft, including a flight in a rag-wing microlight and a few hours in a Boeing 737-800 flight simulator.
Marriage to his wife Deirdre in 1981 brought an end to his active flying. However, his love for aircraft and flying never waned. He continued his passion in the form of photographing planes and later, his technical interest in aeronautical subjects turned to writing. He has written several magazine articles published in New Zealand and also a book, Range & Endurance - Fuel-Efficient Flying in Light Aircraft published by Airlife/Crowood Press in 2007. Another book is also nearing completion.