I have been flying helicopters for over 20 years, mainly in the UK Armed Forces, and lately as a civilian flying instructor. I started my career in the Army before becoming a Naval Aviator and have tested Royal Air Force helicopters. From the chilly Arctic Circle to arid Mesopotamian deserts (and Northern Ireland), I have flown in the most challenging environments, including landing on moving ships, at night, with no Night Vision Goggles; landing in a dust bowl, at night, with NVGs (they don’t help much at that point); landing on a snow slope at night with NVGs (although you don’t really need them). I've moved grateful troops and all their kit around the battlefield; been their eyes in the sky and their ears, forwarding messages from over the horizon so that they can fight the good fight. I have flown from the left and in the right, and sometimes down the back.
Streamlined for excellence.
Honed for Achievement.
That was my high school motto. And it has resonated me ever since. I am a little bit of a perfectionist and thrive in environments where the pursuit of efficiency is paramount. Ever since I was kid, I have had a curiosity and need to understand how things work, asking my mum when I was 2 years old, "How does this work?" as I stripped apart a Dinky car.
Taking in complex principles and techniques and changing them into clear and actionable strategies is what comes naturally to me. My ability to assess and organise concepts can usually sort out the “noise” of a situation, finding the core thread that needs to be pulled to unravel messes – which can then be put back together again. In the process, I try to produce the most elegant solutions to problems.
McGyver and the A-Team, not Airwolf.
Growing up with these TV shows instilled the idea of creating something out of nothing to help someone in trouble and really struck a chord. Ever since then, I have had a compulsive urge to understand things that don’t make sense to me, unravel their complexities and reorder those things into thoughtful, simple, unambiguous and practical systems that reduce the user’s frustration and mental workload.
I have an insatiable thirst for knowledge and have turned pretty much every avenue of intrigue into a hobby. I consider difficult situations as challenges that try my creativity. From beekeeper to Ironman and swimming the English Channel to photography, I don't just dabble. For example, I ran my first marathon as the final stage of the 2006 UK Ironman, cycled up Mont Ventoux 3 times in day using different routes and competed on the Cresta Run. I love editing photographs and taught myself advanced Photoshop and Indesign skills in my spare time.
What do I stand for?
I stand for integrity, innovation and simplicity. I believe that design should be thought of from the outset with the user in mind and from my experience as a test pilot, assessing many cockpits, avionics and other systems, this is not always the case.
I am building a portfolio career that enables me to pioneer new design ideas and technologies through niche applications in the automobile, aviation industries initially, but expanding to medical and other areas, having the flexibility and network reach to enable the business to grow and develop into wider markets.
I really enjoy using my strengths: futurist thinker; quick, imaginative and strategic mind and mentoring. This way of working gives me a great sense of fulfilment.
The focus for my career development right now is as an ergonomic / human-factors and UX design advisor. The idea came from my previous experience as an experimental test pilot, evaluating many different design philosophies and cockpits over the last 20 years for the most complex and demanding operational environments.
Combining my aviation experience with my love of design and IT, suits me well because I am passionate about efficient and simple processes and have deep knowledge in a niche area. This combination also suits my values of vision, innovation and curiosity because I am happiest when pioneering new ideas or better ways of doing the same thing.
Not one for following the crowd or rules for rules' sake, my natural instinct is to rather question "how can we do this differently, in a way that is the most effective, safe and efficient?"