Matt is an experimental test pilot with 20 years’ experience in aviation, having flown nearly 50 types and 3,500 hrs including aeroplanes, helicopters and gliders.
A graduate in Flight Dynamics and Evaluation, Matt joined the Army in 1996, commissioning into the Army Air Corps. After a short tour commanding an Infantry Anti-Tank platoon in Belfast, Matt was awarded his army flying badge in March 2000. He joined 3 Regiment Army Air Corps with deployments to Canada, Northern Ireland and the second Iraq war in 2003 in the anti-tank role as an aircraft flight commander.
In June 2003, Matt joined 846 Naval Air Squadron as an exchange officer flying the Sea King Mk4 in the support helicopter role including Arctic training in Norway; NATO support operations in Banja Luka, Bosnia and four further tours in Iraq as flight commander where he was awarded the GOC’s commendation for distinguished service. With this breadth of operational experience and environmental qualifications, Matt was selected to represent the Royal Navy’s test pilot requirement at the Empire Test Pilots’ School (ETPS) in 2007.
Upon graduation, Matt joined the Rotary Wing Test and Evaluation Squadron (RWTES) at Boscombe Down where he was the lead pilot responsible for testing service modifications supporting Urgent Operational Requirements for the Afghanistan conflict and providing advice to the MOD’s Release to Service Authority. Totalling over 400 hours and 40 separate projects, this included the envelope expansion, handling qualities, avionics upgrades and HMI tests of the politically-sensitive Chinook Mk3R; sensor optimisation trials of the Digital NVG & CDNU for the special forces role; underslung loads envelope definition; Defensive Aid Suite (DAS), avionics upgrades & weapons evaluations. Matt was also responsible for the conversion of the Sea King Mk7 to the land role which involved the addition of Carson Main Rotor Blades, DAS and modification of the cockpit to enable NVGoperations as well as Carson blade and avionics upgrades for the SK Mk4.
After retraining as a military flying instructor, Matt spent 4 years at ETPS conducting ground and airborne instruction of the test pilots’ syllabus specialising in Human-Machine Interface / Human Factors, handling qualities, systems integration and HMD subjects. After leaving the Royal Navy in 2014, Matt continued to train test pilot and flight test engineers at ETPS as a QinetiQ employee, while pioneering new material and exercises for the assessment of HMDs and cockpit assessment HMI. In 2018, Matt was selected to oversee the project introducing the H125 helicopter as a replacement for the ageing Gazelle. He conducted a test campaign involving over 100hrs of ground and air flight evaluation to support the development of QinetiQ’s Air Training Organisation, delivering 20 syllabus modules, associated training material, the aircraft document set and SOPs over a period of 9 months.
In his spare time, Matt recently set up and runs a local community help network during the COVID-19 pandemic, and enjoys beekeeping, cycling and photography while juggling a very energetic 4-year-old.