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Taking the plunge…

It’s been some time since I last posted a blog entry. I’ve got a pretty reasonable excuse though as I have been very busy beavering away with the website overhaul. Not only that, but there have been a lot of changes going on recently, so you’ll now notice the website offers products for sale, which I hope you’ll get the chance to have a look at. 

I’ve decided to take the plunge and start up my own retail business. I’ve been pulling together small, generally aviation related producers who create really wonderful stuff, items that I really appreciate and want to shout about that I use myself, either in the air or around my home. 

As you can imagine, it takes quite a lot of work creating these relationships, negotiating terms and then creating branding, packaging and everything in-between! Though it’s a new venture for me, I’m really excited about watching it grow and gradually adding to the range over time. 

It’s funny how sometimes the smallest things get you excited, like the swing tags for example. I found a cracking print press in chipping Campden called Cherry Press, David there has this gorgeous, old Heidelberg machine and produces just the best swing tickets for my stuff. They look so good when combined with the best quality A2 leather jackets produced by Aero leathers in Scotland for the Arthur Williams Collection

I’ve also got lots of broadcast projects on the boil as well this year, including a first for me with the BBC next month.This is a great step up for me, I can’t disclose too many details at this point, but I can say that it’ll be a three day live event that is aviation themed. For anyone who enjoyed ‘Flying across Britain’ then I think you’ll really enjoy this.The first broadcast will at 8pm, July 22nd on BBC 4.

As many of you may know, I’ve begun commentating for the blades aerobatic display team which is so much fun! I’ve known the blades for many years now, to be joining the team and going to all the major air shows with them is just brilliant. 

Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer are also keeping me busy with the Paris air show next week. I’m looking forward to possibly seeing some of you there and sharing pictures from the show. No doubt there will be some pretty spectacular stuff in the show, including of course the E2 E190 with its latest livery which is bound to get a lot of attention. 

Expanding my duties as ambassador to the light aircraft association, I’ll be producing and presenting a series of 6 films for them of which I’ll share the links to in due course. Heads up for anyone who is considering joining the LAA, I think they’ll be very useful for you to watch. 

Looking ahead, I also have the European swimming championships in September and the 2020 Paralympic games once again with Channel4

With any spare time, I have also been busy with the small task of rebuilding EY’s wing! (which I’m really happy to report is very close now). I’m hopeful that she’ll be flying again before the end of the month. Make sure you follow my social media channels for updates.

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend.


The Marines as an education

Since becoming involved in the TV business, I’ve often wondered if I’m at a disadvantage or an advantage coming from a military background and not a university. I’ve thought about it enough that it’s prompted me to write this blog entry at least. The reason it’s played so much on my mind is that for the most part within my working community I’m quite often the only one without a degree. This makes me feel insecure.


It sometimes even makes me feel out of my depth. Embroiled in a world that I don’t always feel I belong to. I’m sure there are others out there who feel the same in different industries? Fortunately for me I’m not the type of guy that would ever let a thought like this develop into anything more than an interesting topic for debate.

So I lack the degree qualification. I also lack the few years of study getting to understand the crux of the job. These are pretty significant things to be lacking in such a competitive field! But let’s think about what I do bring to the table. The most crucial, I think, is that the Marines gave me the chance to really experience the world in all its ugliness and beauty.

Springing to mind are the vividest of memories which I’ll share.

When I think of beauty, I remember Norway. I was training in Arctic warfare and survival. It was just before Christmas and I was 160 miles within the Arctic circle with temperatures often dropping to -52 Celsius. I stood at the peak of a very high ridge line in the early hours of the morning, looking out over a breathtaking snow covered and moonlit tundra with not a road, house or single light in view. I remember feeling no wind at all and no noise. You could hear a pin drop and I’ve never experienced peace like it before. It was a lovely experience.

On the flip side to this – and many other moments like it – I had a tour of duty in Sierra Leone and remember witnessing how awful humans can be as I walked through the streets of Freetown seeing a ridiculously large number of people without arms, legs, ears, fingers.

We would look up into the back streets and there would be small groups of men who would gesture with their fingers across their throat at you. You could tell this is place that has been through evil times. I’ve been to many places but never witnessed poverty and fear like it.

Being a broadcaster is all about having something to broadcast about, and having this past life gives me an almost infinite number of things to talk about – an invaluable asset in a world of storytelling. It means I have something no one else has.

This point alone is enough to lay my mind at rest before you even consider the range of good qualities ex military personnel have like discipline, punctuality, and determination. These are all qualities I’ve had programmed in from training for the Marines – you simply don’t make the grade if these skills don’t form your default settings.

So if you gave me the choice today knowing what I’d be doing now, of joining the Marines after school or higher education, I’d say experience over qualifications any day of the week.