WILLY HACKETT

Willy became fascinated by aviation at the age of four after seeing a Lightning fly over while on the beach in West Wales. He was captivated from there on.

 

He began flying at the age of 11 with a local gliding club. He was so little he needed his mother's cast iron skillet for ballast. He went solo on his 16th birthday and an RAF flying scholarship earned him a PPL soon after. He left University to join the RAF as soon as he was old enough and after completing basic training on the Jet Provost at RAF Cranwell he progressed to the Hawk at RAF Valley. He then completed the Tornado F3 conversion at RAF Coningsby and from there he joined 43 (F) Sqn at RAF Leuchars before deploying to Gulf War 1 as one of the youngest NATO pilots to take part. After three tours on the F3, including two years as the RAF display pilot, Willy embarked on an exchange with the Royal Navy flying Sea Harriers. Here he enjoyed a 6 month cruise on board HMS Illustrious visiting the Gulf and Sierra Leone.

 

The Empire Test Pilot School came next followed by stints as a test pilot for Eurofighter Typhoon and F35 Joint Strike Fighter.

 

In his personal flying Willy is a Full Category gliding instructor and a member of the Yakovlevs display team. He is a Shuttleworth Collection pilot displaying anything from a Tiger Moth to a Hawker Hind and German Storch. He also instructs on and displays the Folland Gnat. He received an MBE for services to aviation from Her Majesty the Queen in 1999.

 

Willy is married to Debb and they have two young daughters.

ABOUT

BOULTBEE FLIGHT ACADEMY was established in 2010 and was the world's first Spitfire training school and approved Spitfire flight provider flying single seat and two seat spitfires. So if your question is:  Can I buy a flight in a Spitfire? Where can I fly in a Spitfire? or Where can I train to fly a Spitfire? the answer is that you can at Boultbee Flight Academy. The Academy is the world's authority on Spitfire flying. We offer Spitfire experience flights to non-pilots and Spitfire training to pilots. All of our two seat Spitfire flights are incredible experiences whether you are a pilot or not. A two seater Spitfire flight really is everything you will hope it to be and more. Flying in a Spitfire is an experience you won't forget. So why not come and fly with us? CLICK HERE for more information.

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

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