PILOTS The UK’s leading provider of premium flying experiences
We pride ourselves on the roster of highly skilled and experienced pilots flying our aircraft. Many of which had long and successful careers with the RAF. This includes the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and the Red Arrows. Our pilots have been carefully selected based on their unparalleled experience. As a result making your flying experience as exciting, enjoyable and safe as possible.
Across our roster of world renowned pilots we have over 3,000 flying hours piloting Spitfires and a total of over 100,000 hours in the skies. That’s over 10 years in the air!
Gavin has been flying for over 30 years with over 15000 flying hours. With a passion for aviation at all levels, from basic biplanes to a passenger jet. He has a particular interest in instructing, and is always keen to share the experience of flight with passengers.
Gavin spent nearly 25 years flying for a major European flag carrier. However he is still seen teaching in many areas of flying, from ab initio to aerobatics. Gavin also holds a display authorisation for both aerobatics and formation flying.
He has recently finished his airline career on the Embraer 190 aircraft, with its highly complex mesh of computer technology and aircraft systems. Gavin describes this as the antithesis to the “stick and rudder” of the open cockpit Tiger Moth. He has around 1000 hours in the Tiger Moth
He has always been quite happy enjoying the mix of professional commercial flying with the more “grass roots” forms of aviating. Especially in some of the older and historic aeroplanes that it is a privilege to be involved with.
FLT LT CHARLIE BROWN
Flt Lt Charlie Brown joined the RAF in 1981 and enjoyed a 30 year flying career as an RAF pilot. He has flown the Tornado GR1, Jet Provost, Chipmunk, Bulldog, Tucano, Firefly and Tutor. Charlie is currently stationed at RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire and is a member of the Central Flying School Examining Wing.
He is also the Chief Flying Instructor at the RAF Cranwell Flying Club. In 2014 Charlie reached 1000 flying hours in Spitfires, which he described as ‘a real privilege’. He’s now chasing down his 2000th Spitfire flying hour with Aero Legends. For many years a regular participant at Duxford air shows, Charlie is a highly experienced display pilot.
Charlie is now the Head of Training with Aero Legends. Overseeing instructional and training flights at all levels throughout the organisation. He flies most aircraft on the Aero Legends fleet, including the Strikemaster ex-military jet aircraft soon to be utilised by Jet Legends. When not flying, Charlie keeps himself occupied with his classic cars (including a Ford GT40), cycling and playing with his pussy-cat.
Interested in aviation from an early age, Phil first learnt to fly through a RAF Scholarship at the age of 17. Sponsored by the RAF through university he was a keen member of the University Air Squadron and upon graduation joined the RAF as a pilot, where he flew the C130K Hercules and the HS125.
As a Qualified Flying Instructor Instructor Phil had postings to Yorkshire Universities Air Squadron (YUAS) and the University of London Air Squadron (ULAS). He became Chief Flying Instructor of both.
After leaving the RAF, Phil continued to fly and instruct. Specialising in close formation, aerobatics, and introducing people to the delights of vintage aircraft. He is passionate about sharing his knowledge and experience with like-minded people. Phil is delighted to be able to continue this with Aero Legends.
‘HANDSOME JOHN’ O’CONNELL
John took his first flying lesson at the ripe old age of eleven. He gained his PPL before he had his driving licence. Since gaining his ATPL almost twenty years ago, John has amassed thousands of flying hours.
John loves all aspects of aviation however he is passionate about historic aircraft and he has over 2,000 hours of tail wheel experience. The majority of which is on vintage types. He has flown multiple types ranging from the Tiger Moth, Harvard, Yak 11, L-19 Bird Dog, Chipmunk, DHC-2T Beaver and various sea planes right up to modern jets.
John has extensive experience operating from short unprepared airstrips. He has done this in aircraft such as the BN-2B Islander, BN-2A MkIII Trislander, Cessna C208 Caravan and DHC-2T Beaver. In the past, John has displayed at high profile public events and air shows throughout the UK as pilot for RAF Falcons parachute display team.
When not Flying for Aero Legends, John is a keen cheerleader and Gulfstream G450 Skipper for a UK based commercial BizJet operator. He says that when he is flying for Aero Legends, “he’s in his aviation happy place’
Chris joined the RAF in 2007 and completed flying training to become a combat helicopter pilot on Merlin Mk3 and Mk3A. With a varied career in the service spanning 15 years, he fulfilled a variety of roles, including being equerry to HRH Prince Michael of Kent and Qualified Flying Instructor. He served and commanded on operational tours both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Gaining his commercial licences on both aeroplanes and helicopters, Chris left the RAF in 2022 to work as a civilian flying instructor and as a trials pilot, testing new equipment on air platforms. He has a deep passion for all things aviation, especially vintage aircraft. Chris was thrilled to be asked to join the amazing team at Aero Legends and fly, work, and laugh alongside a dedicated and professional team of like-minded individuals.
SEAN CHIDDENTION MBE
Sean Joined the RAF from school in 1983 and, having achieved his wings on the Hawk, qualified as an instructor on the Jet Provost. He became the RAF’s youngest display pilot in 1987/88, before completing operational tours on the Jaguar at Coltishall and Lossiemouth. In between, Sean was selected to join the Red Arrows, his final year being as leader of the Synchro Pair. A headquarters ground job was followed by Sean’s final RAF posting, as the Officer Commanding Central Flying School Exam Wing. In this role, Sean flew many types of aircraft as an instructor and examiner, with air forces around the World.
After the RAF, Sean became an airline pilot flying the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320, as a Captain and Trainer. Sean has now amassed over 17,000 hours on more than 80 aircraft types, remains a current airline Captain and also flies the BAC167 Strikemaster. He started working with Aero Legends in 2021 and has been busy assisting with preparations for the start of Aero Legends’ exciting new operation, Jet Legends.
Andrew has been flying as professional pilot since leaving school at sixteen. He has also been flying the Dakota for most of that period. In that time he has amassed over 35,000 hours flight time with around a third of those hours being on the Dakota.
As a Dakota Instructor and Examiner Andrew leads the Aero Legends Approved Training Organisation for the DC3/C47 the only such operation CAA approved in the UK. He is also an instructor and examiner for the Tiger Moth and Harvard. In addition he holds CAA Display Authorisation and is a Display Authorisation Examiner and a Flying Display Director. Andrew is also the Training Captain for the Boeing B17 “Sally B’’ the only B17 operating outside of the USA.
He has a life long passion for all vintage aircraft and as such is delighted to be able to bring his experience to the Aero Legends operation.
Tom caught the vintage aviation bug early on. His first flying trip was aboard a C-47 from Biggin Hill. He has been giving flying instruction since 2013. This includes as a civilian contractor to RAF, Navy, and Army pilots at the RAF Cranwell and Barkston Heath on the Grob Prefect T Mk.1. Tom presently instructs trainee commercial pilots on twin-engine aircraft. He is also instructs Advanced Upset Prevention and Recovery training.
He is delighted to support our flying heritage by joining the Aero Legends team on the DH82 Tiger Moth. His hobbies include hiking, climbing, dithering endlessly and aviation history.
FLT LT ANTONY ‘PARKY’ PARKINSON
Flt Lt Antony Parkinson MBE, known as Parky, joined the RAF at the age of 18. He became the first pilot to gain 1000 hours flying the Euro Fighter Typhoon. Parky has also flown over 1000 hours on the F4 Phantom and the Tornado F3 for which he was the display pilot in 2000. He joined the Red Arrows for the 2001 to 2004 seasons flying the Hawk.
Parky also flew the F16 for 3 years with the Royal Netherlands Air Force. He has over 8000 flying hours in total. Parky flew with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight from 2007 as the Operations Officer and one of the fighter pilots. Flt Lt Antony Parkinson was awarded an MBE in recognition for his work on the Typhoon and Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
Parky is now the Main Pilot for all Spitfire Operations with Aero Legends. He has amassed in-excess of 1500 Spitfire flying hours. Away from Aero Legends, he’s a keen motorcyclist, wood worker and Robin DR400 enthusiast.
Sam has been a flying Instructor for over 12 years. He is currently a Standards Flight Instructor based at RAF Cranwell. For the past 8 years he has worked as a Flying Instructor training military pilots and Instructors
Over his flying career he has been fortunate enough to fly many different types. These range from light general aviation to historic piston and jet aircraft. Sam currently fly’s the Harvard and Tiger Moth with Aero Legends. Away from flying, Sam enjoys Salsa dancing and poetry
Matt is a new member of the Aero Legends team and will be joining us from the start of the 2023 season. While Matt has never served in the Royal Air Force, doesn’t have a hyphenated surname, and can’t grow even a tiny moustache, he does share the same passion for aviation as all the other pilots. He enjoys helping others experience all the fun and excitement flying has to offer.
Matt took his first light aircraft flight at the age of 13 after joining his local Air Training Corps squadron. He went on to complete his initial and basic gliding qualifications before completing a flying scholarship (and his first solo flight) at the age of 16. Matt then had a brief spell away from aviation as he started what turned out to be a 19 year career as a Firefighter. But it wasn’t long before the lure of having the wind in his hair again took hold of him and he started flying flexwing microlights. Before he knew it he had his commercial pilots license as well as his instructors rating.
In 2018 Matt stepped away from the fire service and joined an airline as a first officer flying the 737. He remained with the airline until the end of August 2022, when he accepted an offer to fly executive jets. His enthusiasm is infectious. You will certainly return to terra firma with a smile on your face.
Daryl started flying training whilst working as an apprentice aircraft engineer. He gained his private pilot’s licence in 1986, followed by flying instructor, commercial and airline transport pilots licences. Daryl is the joint owner of both a flying training organisation and an aircraft maintenance company at Redhill Aerodrome, Surrey. He is also the Chief Engineer and a pilot for “Sally B”, one of the few remaining airworthy Boeing B17s. Daryl has been flying the C47 since 1999 and joined the Aero Legends team in 2022.
Richard has flown 20,000 hours currently having gone solo on gliders at 16 and gained a PPL before he could drive at 17. He learnt to fly commercially on Bell 47 helicopters, having previously trained as an Air Traffic Controller and flew Super Pumas on the North Sea for 4 years before joining a major airline in the South East and he is now a training Captain on Boeing 787 Dreamliner flying to long haul destinations.
He has always had shares in Piper Cubs until in 1995 when he bought a share in a Stampe bi-plane, G-BWEF and now flies with the Stampe Formation Team at airshows around the UK. Richard is a current serving RAF Volunteer reserve pilot flying Air Cadets at Boscombe Down on the RAF’s Tutor trainer. He Thoroughly enjoys introducing the flying guests and their families to vintage aircraft with Aero Legends on the Tiger Moth, Jackaroo and Harvard