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Stuart Smith

Iím a Chartered Electrical Engineer and time served apprentice from Thorn EMI. Having performed various technical, project management and commercial roles I now work as a Commercial Manager for a global telecoms firm.

My first memory of aircraft was when I was seven and playing in a field in Melton Mowbray, seeing a Spitfire swiftly followed by a Vulcan ( later finding out they were on their way to the Leicester airshow in 1976). Iíd had a dormant memory of wanting to fly the plane Iíd first seen. That was, until I had a trial flight, which then got me hooked wanting to learn to fly, but still never revealing my dream. I already knew Spitfires were single seaters and even if I found someone with one they were incredibly unlikely to let me have the keys and say Ďbring it back in one piece wonít you old chapí so I kept quiet.

I now know they donít have keys , are prized and rare representatives of efforts to keep evil forces at bay, and having had the chance to fly in one that fought in WW 2 my flying ambition was achieved in 2003. Having obtained my PPL in 2000, Iíve been flying the closest I could get, a Chipmunk since 2005.

I am married to Allison (also learning to fly now), and have two Labradors; Merlin and George

Why I got involved

Iíd recently been thinking of trying to find some form of project on a Ďpermit to flyí aircraft but unable to identify anything suitable that wasnít going to take all my resources, then try and find somewhere to build and fly it. Iíd seen a programme about the kit Spitfires in Australia a couple of years ago along with adverts in the magazines but thought they were well out of my reach, never mind my abilities. Coinciding with these thoughts Iíd seen the idea at Enstone and just thought a little visit using a Chipmunk I have a share in, to have a chat, was a good use of a Sunday afternoon. I think the idea Paulís come out with is great and covers more than just flying for pilots or budding pilots.

What Iím looking forward to most

Iím looking forward to meeting and working with like minded people with a common goal and being able to know the aircraft inside out as I help to build it. Putting into use, skills I havenít used since I was an apprentice along with the experience of the last 25 years and developing new skills, both hands on and flying is quite exciting. Iíve never tried building a plane before never mind such an iconic type, but knowing that Iím not on my own trying this is reassuring.

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