2011 UK Airshows

JUN 10 2011
Airshows >> UK: 20 Questions For....... Sqn Ldr Ian Smith - Officer Commanding Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

Having joined the service in 1983, "Smithy's" first operational posting was to the Chinook in Germany, during which time he saw service in Northern Ireland and the Falklands.

From then on he traded his rotors for conventional fixed wings, initially as a QFI (Qualified Flying Instructor) on 1 FTS at RAF Linton-on-Ouse. Operational tours on the Jaguar over Iraq and Bosnia were logged whilst with 41(F) Sqn before being awarded the coveted red flying suit and posted to the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, The Red Arrows.

The Hawk display theme continued for a further year, with Smithy being given the role of Team Manager with the Saudi Hawks Aerobatic Team.

Returning to the Jaguar Force, Smithy was 6 Sqn's XO (Executive Officer) at the time of the type's withdrawal from service, after which he was posted to RAF Cranwell as OC 16(R) Sqn on the Tutor.

He took over as OC Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at the end of 2009 and is responsible for overseeing all operations, admin and engineering functions of the Flight, including planning the BBMF's extensive display programme. Additionally, Smithy is 'Fighter Leader' and is responsible for training the Flight's fighter pilots.

1/ Name? Ian Smith

2/ Display mount / mounts? Spitfire and Hurricane

3/ Day job? Officer Commanding Royal Air Force Battle Of Britain Memorial Flight

4/ How many hours in your log book? 6000

5/ On what types? Dozens!

6/ How many years have you been displaying? 10

7/ What was your first public display? Can't remember!

8/ All time favourite display venue? Fowey, down in the South West

9/ What's the best thing about being a display pilot? Flying a Spitfire!

10/ And the worst? It's an unforgiving business

11/ Favourite part of your display? Flying a Spitfire!

12/ If you could improve one thing about the UK airshow circuit what would it be? The weather!

13/ Other than yourself (obviously), who's your favourite current display pilot? My other fighter pilots

14/ Which other act / team would you always stop and watch? The Blades

15/ Is there a team / aircraft you've never seen displaying which you always wished you had? No

16/ If you could choose anything from any era, which aircraft would you most love to get your hands on? Sea Fury

17/ Who inspired you to begin display flying? My father

18/ Which airshow has the best grub? Duxford

19/ Where's the best after show party? Biggin Hill

20/ What one piece advice would you give to anyone who wanted to get in to display flying? Make sure you live to enjoy it

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