I joined the army as an infantry officer in The Royal Irish Rangers in 1985. Having served all over the world I was posted to Ballymena Northern Ireland in 1989. It was there, having run out of free airline shuttle tickets (was taking the then girlfriend, now my wife, to a ball in London) that the Army Air Corps was doing a recruiting drive and was offering free shuttle tickets to London to come and do the aptitude tests at Biggin Hill.
Two months later I was at Middle Wallop being taught to fly a Chipmunk by a WW2 Hurricane pilot (what a privilege), then on to Gazelles.
Let’s wind forward to the naughties, I set up my own company AH Helicopter Services with a lone Hughes 300, quickly followed by another and then a Hughes 500.
Today I am not only a Flight Instructor, but a type rating examiner and currently the only type rating examiner on our Loach. Currently I have a total of 6000 odd hours of which over 2000 are on the 500 type, with the rest being mainly on Hughes 300’s Gazelles and 206’s.
Best aviation moment - without doubt sending my daughter solo after just 10 hours, which, although I hate to say it, was quicker than me!
Other notable events:
Dropping Gary Connery from one of my 500s for his world record landing in 18000 cardboard boxes without a parachute from 2450ft
Dropping a model glider from 10000ft to capture the model glider distance record for James May and his Toy Story TV series
Much to my wife’s disgust - flying Angelina Jolie!