We are pleased to announce that we have a new instructor that has joined the team here at Bristol & Wessex Aeroplane Club. We extend a warm welcome to Ian Seabrook a recently retired commercial pilot who completed his career flying the Airbus A350 aircraft.
We caught up with Ian and asked him a few questions on his career, background and aspirations. We hope you find our interview with Ian interesting, if you see Ian around the club make sure to say hello and have a chat when possible.
Tell us about your aviation career, what were your highlights?
I started flying as a teenager at my local Gliding Club. I went solo as a 16 year old and was an instructor at 18. My professional career started when I joined the Fleet Air Arm. I was fortunate to be selected for fixed wing training and joined 801 NAS on the Sea Harrier FRS.1 embarked on HMS Ark Royal. I was in the RN for 14 years and operated the Sea Harrier FRS.1/FA2, Harrier T4/T8, Hunter GA11/T7/T8/T8N, FA 18 A/B/C/D (On exchange with the US Navy), and various trainers. I was an Air Warfare Instructor teaching weapons and tactics from the back seat of the Harrier T4/8 and an Instructor Pilot with the USN teaching from the back seat of FA18B’s and D’s. In my RN Career I logged about 2,500 hours on fast Jets and 400 deck landings on 5 different Carriers (2 UK, 3 US).
Do you have any interesting stories to tell?
I have a few interesting tales to tell (mostly involving my errors that I got away with). I once carried out a practise instrument approach into Filton In a Sea Harrier which ended in a very low and fast go around followed by a vertical climb. My girlfriend (now wife) coincidently worked in an office overlooking the runway.
How did you get into flying, was it a childhood dream?
I got into flying through my stepfather who was a gliding Instructor. My childhood dream was to be a Fighter Pilot and them to land a Jumbo at Heathrow.
What made you choose B&W to instruct at?
I chose B&W because its my local club, has an interesting history, good people and a mixed fleet.
In your opinion what makes a good instructor?
In my opinion a good instructor has to knowledgeable, approachable, patient and enthusiastic.
What ambitions or aims do you have whilst instructing at B&W?
My aims at B&W are Fly and teach as much as possible, add to my qualifications, and hopefully pass on some of my acquired knowledge to the next generation of pilots.
What would your advice be to student pilots currently in or about to start commercial training?
My advice to student pilots in commercial training would be to keep going. Commercial Aviation may be in a dip now, but it will eventually recover, and its a fantastic career.