Q What might people who only know you professionally be most
surprised to learn about you?
We had a family a bit
late in life. I’m 51, and my eldest is 6½
years of age, and I’ve got a son of 3.
Jane, my wife, and I enjoyed many
years of being sort of the free couple
without any baggage. Jane attained a
private pilot’s license too. We were
married 13 years before we had our
first child. So people might be
surprised to learn I have a young
family, both from the perspective of
(a) I’ve got a family and (b) that I left it
until so late.
We certainly had the pleasure of
getting a lot of stuff out of our systems
as a couple in terms of places we
wanted to go and doing the flying
bit and all that sort of thing. We very
nearly ended up both being wholly
career-focused at the expense of
not having a family. I am delighted
to say that we did get around to it in
the end—and are all the richer for
it, I would hasten to add as well.
I try to play hockey. This is played
predominately on AstroTurf rather than
what you would be familiar with—ice
hockey, I would guess. The principles
are much the same—smashing a ball
with a stick. People might be surprised
to learn that I’m still doing that, but
I do love it as a competitive team
sport. Sharing both the winning and
losing—it’s a great escape from some
of the frustration of the day job!
Q Any items still on your bucket list?
On the top of my
bucket list, I’d love to own a P-51
Mustang. That would be my dream. I
was very fortunate a couple of years
ago that I finally managed to get to fly
a Supermarine Spitfire. We did some
basic aerobatics in it, including a loop
and a victory roll, which was an
absolute dream come true for me. I
shall never forget the sensations of
flying the aircraft, the noise, the smell,
and its handling. Many say you don’t
fly a Spitfire, you wear it, and the
experience is exactly that. It’s like
strapping the aircraft to your back. You
appear only to have to will it in the
direction you want it to go, and it
Rather interestingly, my wife had
actually bought it as a 40th birthday
present, and then it had taken eight
years for my name to come up on the
list to actually go ahead and do it.
There’s a lady who operates a Spitfire
here in the U.K. called Carolyn Grace.
The aircraft was originally renovated
by her husband Nick Grace, who was
sadly killed in a car accident. She
became—in recent times, at least—the
first female pilot to own and operate
a Spitfire on the air display circuit.
Doing a couple of victory rolls and
loops in the Spitfire is a memory that
will stick with me for a long time. J
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