OFMC Chief Pilot – Lee Proudfoot
Aerobatic and formation display specialist since 1990. Professional formation display pilot since 1991 and has flown 10,000 hours in over 60 different types of aircraft. Lee has flown for various commercial airlines and spent 7 ‘exciting’ (and very cold!) years as chief pilot, ‘Bush’ flying in the Antarctic for the British Antarctic Survey.
Lee lives in Cambridgeshire with his wife Lucy and their two daughters.
Alister has been display flying for over 25 years and flies for OFMC as well as in his formation aerobatic team The RV8tors,
He began flying, aged 16, on an RAF gliding course. He has achieved 14 UK gliding records, including a height climb to 36,600 feet, and has been UK Gliding Champion 8 times.
In 1987 Alister entered and won his first aerobatic competition in a Pitts Special and began air-display flying the following year. He now has almost 10,000 flying hours on 150 types of mainly tailwheel single engine aircraft and gliders. Alister lives near Oxford and for many years was based at Booker Airfield, which used to be home to MH434 (the OFMC Spitfire) and this inspired his ambition to fly piston fighters.
In 1998 Alister flew the OFMC Harvard, progressing to the P-51D Mustang, Spitfire MH434 and the P-40 Kittyhawk.
Nigel is the 2014 Red Bull Air Race Champion competes in the series along with Paul Bonhomme. See www.nigellamb.com
Nigel first flew for OFMC in 1993 when he flew MH434. Following the tragic death of Mark Hanna in 1999, he took over the day-to-day running of OFMC until 2003.
Nigel has been a professional air display pilot since 1981 and has flown approximately 1,500 public displays in 24 countries world-wide. He has been British National Aerobatic Champion in the Unlimited Class 8 times.
He is a very keen scuba diver and also enjoys skiing, squash and tennis. His wife Hillary is also keen on competition aerobatics and won her second contest flying a Bucker Jungman bi-plane. They have three sons, Max, Daniel and Ben and live in Oxfordshire, England.
Paul enjoys all types of flying, comes from an aviation family and describes himself as “not too bad” at Air Racing. As the current World Champion (2009) he has achieved an unsurpassed record of 30 podium finishes out of 44 races that includes 11 race wins. He caught the bug from his father, Colin, a British Army pilot who went on to a successful airline career. His mother also flew as a stewardess with BEA in the late fifties….. and his brother is a Captain flying the Airbus A320.
Paul’s passion for aerobatics started when he worked at White Waltham airfield near London where he helped Richard Goode prepare and maintain his Pitts Special aircraft. Paul went on to fly aerobatics displays for Richard in the Pitts, Yak 50, Extra 300 and Sukhoi 26. He continues to display unlimited aerobatic aircraft alongside former Air Race pilot Steve Jones as the Matadors.
Steve had his first flying lesson at just five years old. His first flight was in 1965 in a Cessna, and although he was too short to reach the rudders and was on the knee of a family friend, the impact of this event has had a lasting impression on this fantastic pilot, who went on to be a British Aerobatic Champion. Steve has been a competitive Red Bull Air Race pilot since the first ever race in 2003, and of course, the first UK race took place in Kemble in 2004. He retired from the Air Race at the end of 2008 and is now the Red Bull Air Race Director.
Steve along with Paul Bonhomme have been flying competitively and as display pilots in their Sukhoi Duo and later “The Matadors” Team since 1994. They have taken their magnificent show around the world from the UAE to Japan and China. Steve flies as the wingman. A position of great skill and as many describe “the one with the most work to do!” see http://www.matadorsaerobaticteam.com/
His spare time spent building an old wooden racing aircraft, and maintaining his two 1950’s racing cars, to fulfil his love of engineering!
Brian Smith learnt to fly on Tiger Moths in 1970 and became a professional airline pilot two years later. He took an early interest in aerobatics, and flew with the British Aerobatic team representing the UK at international contests. He soon found himself displaying such classics as the Arrow Active and Percival Mew Gull, which fostered his love of historic aircraft.
Brian’s association with ‘warbirds’ began in 1986, when he joined Ray and Mark Hanna’s Old Flying Machine Company. He has displayed OFMC aircraft throughout the UK and Europe, as well as flying in a number of major film and television productions
With around thirty years of displaying warbirds under his belt, Brian is now privileged to fly for most of the private collections based at Duxford and has subsequently flown the majority of WW2 piston fighters based there.
Retirement from airline flying occurred in 2015, cumulating in over 26,000 hours flown in a variety of Boeing aircraft, most latterly the mighty 747 Jumbo.
Stuart is a third generation aviator.
Stuart learnt to fly in New Zealand aged 17 ½ and on returning to UK towed gliders at Dunstable to get his hours for his commercial license. Aged 21, he had 1,200 hrs and was on the path to Commercial flying as a career. He worked for Bowker Air Services, aged 23, as a Crop spraying pilot for 8 years flying the Piper Pawnee, and it was here that he started building his first aeroplane, a Pitts Special, which he went on to display and compete in, in various aerobatic competitions.
The first real ‘warbird’ Stuart flew was the 1918 Nieuport 28 powered by a 160 Gnome Rotary – a fine air-show machine which makes a noise crossed between a Dragster and machine gun ! He progressed to the WW2 aircraft after being invited to fly for the Fighter Collection at Duxford. It was here Stuart flew the mighty “Jug” P47 Thunderbolt, to this day still his favourite aircraft of all time. Through Mark Hanna’s invitation, he subsequently flew the New Zealand based Polikarpovs at the glorious ‘Warbirds over Wanaka’ air display in the Southern Alps.
Stuart has 21,000 hrs and, more than 150 types in his log book; in between his day job as a Captain with Thomson Airways – flying Boeing 767/757 on World wide routes – he also travels to New Zealand to display various vintage aircraft there outside of the UK display season.
Joe Kennedy – Engineer
Joe is a leading specialist on the P-51. He has in depth engineering experience on over 20 different types of warbird but his favourite is the P-51. With about one day’s maintenance required for each hour flown, engineering is a vital part of the operation.
When we fly to major events, Joe accompanies the aeroplane and he has flown on many interesting transits in the back of Ferocious Frankie.