Brian Smith’s interest in aviation started in his schoolboy days, when he spent his weekends and holidays cleaning aeroplanes and sweeping the hangar at nearby Redhill aerodrome, home of the world famous Tiger Club. He learnt to fly in 1969 on a Tiger Moth, and within a year had entered and won his first aerobatic competition. 1972 saw Brian embarking on his professional flying career, flying CL44 freighters on world-wide routes. His interest in aerobatics continued, culminating as a member of the British Aerobatic Team in 1976 / 77.

Brian continued along his airline career, converting onto Boeing 707s in 1978 with American Airlines. He was the youngest captain to ever pass though their Dallas (Texas) Flight Training Academy, and went on to eventually qualify on Boeing 737 and 757 aircraft. Prior to his retirement in 2015, Brian spent his final 15 years as a training captain flying Boeing 747s, accumulating a career total of around 27000 hours flying time.

Throughout his career, Brian has maintained a love of historic aircraft and has been active on the air display circuit for over 40 years. He checked out in the legendary Spitfire in 1986, subsequently flying 8 variants of the type, and has flown and displayed a broad spectrum of WW2 piston fighters for various owners and operators based at Duxford for over 30 years. In 2017, he was awarded the Hanna trophy for “an outstanding contribution to the art of display flying of historic, vintage or modern fighter aircraft”.

Brian lives near Horsham, Sussex with his wife Gilly. They have two offspring; daughter Kate is a physiotherapist whilst son Nick is following in his father’s footsteps as an aviator -  currently a Royal Navy pilot instructing on the new F35 Lightning II in America.


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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