STU GOLDSPINK

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.

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Photography:  John Dibbs, Richard Paver, Andy Annable, Jon Le Ray, Darren Harbar

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