pc-12 support aircraft pilot
Ian ‘Smithy’ Smith joined the RAF as a pilot at the age of 17, following in his father’s footsteps. On completion of flying training, he was posted to RAF Gutersloh in Germany flying the giant CH-47 Chinook helicopter. Despite being only a two-year tour he was deployed for six months to both Northern Ireland and also the Falkland Islands.
In the early 90’s Smithy became a flying instructor in Yorkshire for a couple of years before completing further training and thereafter posted to the Jaguar at RAF Coltishall in Norfolk. He spent a total of 13 years in Norfolk all bar a brief three-year break to fly with the Red Arrows at RAF Cranwell.
The Jaguar came to an end in 2007 at RAF Coningsby ending Smithy’s 14 year and just shy of 2000 hours love affair with the aircraft. Whilst at RAF Coningsby he started flying with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and assumed Command for three years in 2010, describing the experience as the pinnacle of his life, let alone RAF career!
On leaving the RAF after 30 years Smithy spent two years with the Blades Aerobatics Team before joining Richard Lake to fly not only his Jetstream 41 with Eastern Airways but also his two Spitfires. A chance encounter with an old RAF friend and the chance of a Typhoon cockpit seduced him back into the RAF. Whilst Smithy did fly Typhoon he didn’t fancy the turmoil of re-joining a front-line Squadron and accepted that an old fighter pilot has to one day hang up his ‘wings’. He now instructs Typhoon pilots in the BAE Systems Simulator at RAF Coningsby.
Smithy continues to fly Spitfires and Hurricanes in the civil sector so not entirely grounded. His spare time is consumed with his two Bearded Collies, fast cars and bikes, clay shooting, beer and sleeping.