Kevin Wills – Staff Photographer & Writer
Growing up in Banbury, North Oxfordshire, Kevin’s early passion for military aviation was fuelled by regular visits to Upper Heyford. Throughout the 1980s he would cycle to the US air base at weekends and school holidays to watch the based F-111s and a whole plethora of visiting and detached aircraft. As Kevin says, “It was great as you were never quite sure what would turn up on the approach!!”
Kevin had his first ever photographed published in Aviation News in 1990. It was of a German Phantom at Wittmund. This was the start of a fantastic journey in aviation photojournalism that has, even to this day, given him some breathtaking and unforgettable experiences. Having flown with more than ten different air arms and had over 200 military flights, Kevin considers himself privileged and very lucky!! He says, “It’s almost impossible to pick my favourite flight, but I must say my top five all involve helicopters…!”
These days Kevin’s time is mostly taken up acting as the Flying Display Director of the Dawlish Air Show. “I’m extremely proud of what I have managed to achieve at Dawlish, turning what was just a Red Arrows display at the carnival, into an award winning International Air Show, with very little financial backing. I couldn’t have done it alone and I’m incredibly grateful to those friends, in and out, of the aviation industry that have helped me along the way.”
Kevin lists his aviation highlights as “being fired off three different US Navy Carriers, flying upside down twenty times in a Lynx, the first time a fast jet joined for a photoshoot (a Treble One Sqn Tornado F3!), flying around Snowdonia in a 22 Sqn Wessex…..the list goes on.” With his ‘Dawlish hat’ on, “it has to be watching the RAF Role Demo team running in over Red Rock in 2008, followed closely by the Vulcan and Red Arrows in formation in 2009”.