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FIREFLIES TEAM

Jon

Jon's life in aviation started as a fourteen year old 'hangar-rat' at his local gliding club. Flying whenever he could and learning mostly by osmosis, he was soon solo and enjoying the freedoms  and responsibilities that can only be enjoyed once your feet are off the ground. As soon as he could, Jon gained his Private Pilot's Licence, the first stage towards a career flying aeroplanes and  started building hours flying the glider tow aircraft. Today having spent more than half his life as a member of the same gliding club, Jon is now the chief tug pilot and has a particular fondness for  the club as it is where he met his partner Kate, also a pilot.

On leaving school and with only one career in mind, Jon joined the amazing Air Atlantique. The next six years were to be some of the most enjoyable of his life as Jon progressed from cadet pilot, to deputy chief pilot within the organisation's Classic Flight. Jon has always felt it a great privilege to be invited to fly someone else's aeroplane and the eclectic mix of classics at Air Atlantique in particular. From the beautiful De Havilland Rapide biplane to the extremely rare Twin Pioneer and his personal favourite the iconic Douglas DC3, each one presented a different set of characteristics and challenges that have given Jon such a diverse range of experience.

In 2007 Jon joined the airlines and started flying Airbus A320's based at Heathrow. The transition from 'brace-by-wire' to 'fly-by-wire' was a bit of a culture shock but shuttling around Europe in all weathers certainly had its appeals. The opportunity to fly for the British Antarctic Survey presented itself in 2010 and Jon spent a season flying Twin Otters in support of the science on the most remarkable continent on Earth. His time in the Antarctic offered Jon some of the most exciting and challenging flying available to any pilot.

Display flying has played a major role in Jon's flying since he first gained his Display Authorisation at the age of 17. He has displayed aircraft ranging from the DC3 to the Rapide, the De Havilland Vampire jet trainer and more recently as a member of the Twister Duo flying the delightful Silence Twister.

Jon has now flown around 7,000 hours, has flown on every continent on earth and is currently paid to fly Boeing 767's based at Heathrow. He flies the lead aircraft of the Fireflies, guiding the team through their dynamic sequence of manoeuvres, ensuring that every display is as safe as it is exciting.

Andy

Andy started flying at the age of 17, completing his PPL in Manston, Kent on a Cessna 152. a couple of years later he too started gliding, as well as power flying from former Naval Air Station Lee on Solent. After a few douzen hours in the warrior, he wanted something more and gained his tailwheel rating on a Super-cub. Whilst continuning his involvement with gliding, he started flying the lycoming chipmunk and supercub, towing gliders in to the air.

The University air squadron provided him with his first introduction to aerobatics and formation flying between 2001 and 2003.

Andy joined the Navy in 2005 where he progressed through the fast-jet training pipeline until the Navy fixed wing program was axed in 2010, during which time he flew the Firefly, Tucano, Hawk and Harrier.

Along the way, Andy has owned a Pitts S1-S and a share in a Yak52, and flown numerous types including a T6 and Yak 50. Andy continues to fly gliders, teaching and examining in many areas including advanced aerobatics, instructor coaching and cloud flying training. He gained his Display Authorisation in 2006 and performed his first display at Yeovilton air day in a Yak 52.

Andy left the Navy in 2012, gained his commercial licences and now flies the Airbus A320 series.


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