Left – Radial Airshows founder member and Director T6 Harvard Ltd. Andy is a current display pilot and a keen warbird enthusiast.
Having started flying in 2001, he aspired to fly vintage aircraft after watching the Boscombe down Harvards flying into Netheravon Airfield in Wiltshire, where he was stationed with the Army in the 1990s
Nearly 20 years later, Andy flew G-CORS, the same MkII Harvard that inspired his initial enthusiasm and has now accrued over 400 hours on 6 different Harvards and recently qualified on the P-51 mustang in the USA and in August 2021 flew the Hawker Hurricane Mk1 V7497 based at Duxford. Quite an eventful few years!
Andy qualified as a parachute drop pilot in 2002, Andy continued to build hours on the Cessna 206 and 208 Caravan, BNI Islander and Gippsland GA8 Airvan; at various drop zones; around the UK, even dropping parachutists from the tiny Auster and C-172!
By 2021 Andy has over 26 Aircraft Types logged – Cessna150,152,172,206,208,208B – Piper PA38, Slingsby Firefly T67M, Extra 300, Pitts S2A, PA34, PA18, GA8 Airvan, Grumman AA1, Duchess, BNI Islander, Tiger Moth, Chipmunk, Auster D4 and AOP9 AOP5, Spartan Executive, Mustang P-51 (3 different Mustangs total), Harvard 4, MKII and SNJ (6 different Harvards total), Yale NA64, Hawker Hurricane Mk1 V7497 (Spitfire with CRI duel – Hawk with A2 instructor Duel)
Right – G-CORS MkII Harvard ex RAF Boscombe Down.
Andy is a military veteran and former Senior NCO in the Parachute Regiment (2 Para and SFSG) with numerous operational tours of Northern Ireland, Afghanistan and Iraq under his belt.
Andy was a former member of the famous Free Fall Team “THE RED DEVILS” , and a world-class competitive skydiver with over 7000 jumps to his credit. Andy still holds the British Parachute Association (BPA – Now British Skydiving BS, not BPA) parachute Instructor/Examiner in almost all disciplines such as Accelerated free fall, Tandem parachuting, Parachute Rigger and High Altitude Military Free Fall. Andy is duel rated British and American with the equivalent USPA (USA) ratings and British BS ratings. Andy has assisted the courts in several high-profile expert witness cases involving accident investigation, criminal and civil and continues to do so. https://parachutingexpertwitness.com
After leaving the Army, Andy became a consultant on the hazardous anti-piracy convoys for 3 years, regularly crossing the “High-Risk Area” of the Indian ocean, sometimes armed and other times unarmed like in the film Captain Phillps. During these 3 years, Andy says he could write a book on the numerous encounters with Somali pirates; however, that’s for another day!
Flying continuation training carried on achieving the Instrument Metrological Rating (IMC) Multi-engine Piston rating (MEP) Class Rating Instructor (CRI). In 2005 Andy qualified on the Cessna Caravan 208 and 208B, and the British built Britten Norman Islander with a memorable registration G-AYRU. Accumulating over 1200 hours mainly parachute flying, Andy looked at the opportunities to get into warbird flying.
In 2010 Andy took a 40-minute flight in a duel T9 Spitfire and was immediately hooked! In 2011 Andy achieved his tailwheel rating and purchased a D4 Auster. Accumulating a further 100 hours of tailwheel experience, Andy became a co-owner of an MK4 Harvard G-BUKY. Then a co-owner of G-BJST had repainted as the “Wacky Wabbit” with the lads’ kind sponsorship at Fishburn Airfield, now located at Eshott Airfield.
Harvard Display Training: After 50 hours of flying, the Harvard Andy started training for his Display Authorisation (CAA DA) with the well-known display pilot and celebrity Brendan O’brian. From this point on, almost all of Andys flying is dedicated to Display flying and practice. In addition, Andy was sponsored in 2019 By Sivrihisar General Aviation Center (S.U.S.H.M) in Turkey, where he received more coaching, this time from another extremely well-known display pilot Ali Ismet Ozturk owner and operator of some of the most prestigious Warbirds and aircraft in the world. Thanks to Ali Ozturk, Andy displayed the largest airshow in Turkey with over 51,000 spectators over 2 days. In addition, Andy completed 5 displays and a beautiful formation with the DC3 “Turkish Delight” and the Romanian Yakkers.
Andy currently has over 400 hours on several different Harvards and co-owns the Wacky Wabbit Harvard 4. His current CAA Display Authorisation allows for low flypasts at 100 feet and low-level Aerobatics at 300 feet.
NA64 YALE: This is another welcome addition to Andys display portfolio. One of the rarest trainers in existence “YALE NA 64, with only approximately 8 flying in the world. This example is the only example outside of Canada and the USA flying today. The YALE isn’t aerobatic like the Harvard; however, it is challenging to fly with its most noticeable differences, such as the 420 horsepower engine, variable pitch prop and fixed landing gear. Andy has completed many displays in the YALE and notes that it’s a delight to fly and always pulls in a good crowd due to its rarity. In addition, the YALE has some exciting Luftwaffe history worth further research. Take a look at this link to see the YALE Luftwaffe History.
Tiger Moth: Now for something completely different! Andy was asked to display the Tiger Moth at the Museum at Sivrihisar, Turkey. Andy, not adverse to a challenge, quickly saught some hasty Tiger training at Cambridge and Bicester and clocked up a quick 10 hours of circuits and bumps, learning some of the idiosyncrasies of the Tiger Moth. Andy remarks that the Tiger is very noisy and takes constant attention to keep the aircraft in balance and can be a real handful at times!
Left – Mustang P51: Things have gone from strength to strength as Andy qualified to solo on the P51 Mustang in the USA, flying with the renowned warbird instructor Mark Murphy. This all took place in the Great Falls of Montana in the Collings Foundation Mustang P51 “Toulouse Nuts” Andy remarked the P51 is a challenge on take-off and an adventure to land, however after nearly 300 hours on the T6 Harvard at the time of training “The Pilot Maker”, it was a pleasant step up.
With 10 hours now logged on the P51, Andy hopes to build on this figure and eventually display this iconic and beautiful warbird.
Right – Hurricane V7497 – August 2021 Andy flew the Iconic Hawker Hurricane Mk1 V7497, which was to quote “The dream came true”! This was the fighter that Andy had set his sights on flying since a small boy who was brought up playing top trump cards! Out of all the aircraft,t this was always his favourite, especially the classic Mk1 with the Rolls Royce Merlin III engine that flew during the Battle of Britain. Andy has now clocked up a few hours on this machine and is looking at getting his Display Authorisation on the Hurricane in 2022. For more information on Hurricane V7497, please visit the website
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