Alexander Frederick Cecil Roberts joined the RAF on National Service in 1954 and was commissioned and posted to 2 Flying Training School Hullavington flying Provosts and Vampires. In 1955 he was posted to RAF Middleton St George flying Vampires. In 1956 he completed 233 OCU course on Meteors and between 1956 and 1957 he was posted to 615 Squadron at RAF Biggin Hill flying Meteor F8s.
In 1956 he joined Short Brothers Belfast as an Experimental and Development Test Pilot under the leadership of Chief Test Pilot Tom Brooke-Smith. Between 1956 and 1957 he carried out test flying on various aircraft and made initial familiarisation hover flights in SC1 during tethered gantry hover tests.
In 1958 he was responsible for high altitude testing of Canberra U Mk 10 Drone Target aircraft and completed open Cockpit testing on Canberra B8. He was appointed project development pilot on Canberra PR Mk9. Between 1960 and 1962 he flew production Britannia 253 aircraft manufactured for RAF Transport Command.
He undertook all SC1 test flying including full transitions using first VTOL fly by wire control system. Between 1964 and 1968 he was responsible for handling stability and control testing of Belfast
freighter. In 1969 he was appointed Sales Manager Skywan and between 1969 and 1973 he was Manager Skyvan division. Between 1973 and 1976 he was General Manager Aircraft at Short Bros and then was Executive Director Aircraft Short Bros 1976-82. In 1989 until 1995 he was Deputy Managing Director Short Bros following privatisation of Company and acquistion by Bombardier Group Canada.