Our Pilots

Have vast military and commercial experience. They come and fly our high performance aerobatic aircraft for fun and want you to have a good time too!

All of our instructors are current or former military fast jet pilots, many of whom have fought and flown operationally in The Gulf War or Bosnia.  They include former Red Arrows pilots, test pilots, Jaguar, Typhoon, Hawk and Harrier pilots, as well as Spitfire display pilots.  

They all work for us part-time as they have full time jobs, mostly flying for commercial airlines.  They come and fly for us because they enjoy it!

Select a pilot below to read their biography

Charlie is Chief Pilot Red ArrowsCharlie McIlroy

Charlie has over 10,000 hours flying experience including over 4,000 hours of military fast jet flying. He joined the RAF in 1975 on the same course as Bill Perrins and went on to fly the Lightning followed by a tour as a fast jet instructor on the Hawk.

He was the Hawk display pilot for 2 seasons and joined the Red Arrows in 1984. He flew as Red 8 and then joined the syncro pair for 2 years. This was followed by 5 years of flying Harriers, both the GR3 & GR7, mostly in Germany where he served as a flight commander on 4 Squadron.

Charlie is Chief Pilot for Ultimate High.


Mark Ex-RAF Fast Jet PilotMark Greenfield

Founder and CEO of Ultimate High, Mark is a former RAF fast jet pilot, and ran the world famous Empire Test Pilot School for QinetiQ. He has been coaching aerobatics for 20 years, and established the Ultimate High Flight Safety Academy in 2001 to specifically deliver advanced flying training to private and commercial pilots.

Mark has been instrumental in developing the company’s Team and Leadership development programmes, particularly around the translation of the Fighter Pilot Mission Cycle into direct commercial relevance to facilitate the development of high performance teams and continuous improvement through effective debriefing, particularly in high risk environments.

He is an experienced manager of air-to-air photo, video and TV shoots, both as subject and as photographer, and is an aviation and motoring journalist. He holds an Unlimited Display Authorisation and flies an Extra 300L in singleton and formation displays at airshows around Europe.


Flight Captain AirbusMags Cunningham

Mags flew the Falcon 20 with FR Aviation, providing electronic warfare training for RAF pilots and taking part in NATO exercises throughout the European theatre. Mags also worked for Flight Precision in Teesside calibrating navigational aids on the King Air.

Day job is as a Captain on Airbus 320 and 321 for British Airways, but her first love has always been aerobatic aircraft. Mags has flown and instructed on the Chipmunk, Condor, Cap 10, Tiger Moth, Stampe, Super Cub, Pitts S2 & Christen Eagle, and of course the T67 Firefly and Extra300.


RAF Jaguar PilotRich Esau

Rich joined the RAF in 1983 whilst on Southampton UAS flying the Bulldog and, after basic training on the Jet Provost, became a first tour 'creamie' QFI on the Hawk at RAF Valley. After this he was posted to the front-line to fly the Jaguar on 41(F) Squadron in the reconnaissance and attack roles. He then completed a further Hawk tour and 2 more front-line Jaguar tours at RAF Coltishall flying on operations over Bosnia and Northern Iraq.

He has over 4000 hours flying fast jets and was a QFI on the Jaguar as well as the Hawk, leaving the Jaguar force as a flight commander on 54(F) Squadron. Outside the RAF he has enjoyed flying and instructing in the YAK52 for many years.  He now works for a major UK airline where he has flown the Airbus A340, A330, A350 amd Boeing B787.


RAF & Boeing PilotMark Grigg

Griggsy joined the RAF in 1989 and, after basic training on the Jet Provost and Jetstream, was posted to the front-line to fly the Hercules on 30 Squadron in the air transport and air to air refuelling roles, supporting operations in the Gulf region and on detachment in the Falkland Islands. After a tour as a co-pilot Mark attended CFS and was posted to Bristol University Air Squadron as a QFI on T67 Fireflys. After gaining his A2 Mark then became a staff instructor at CFS teaching new QFIs.

On return to the Hercules, Mark joined LXX Squadron as a captain in the tactical air transport role. Mark then completed a staff tour, where amongst other things he organized flypasts including the Jubilee Flypast in 2002. He then completed a further Hercules tour at RAF Lyneham flying on operations in the Congo, Afghanistan and Iraq.

He has over 7000 hours and was a QFI on the Hercules as well as the T67 Firefly and left the Hercules as a flight commander on LXX Squadron. Away from his normal job in the RAF he has enjoyed flying as an Air Experience pilot on the Chipmunk, T67 Firefly and Tutor. Mark now flies the 777 for British Airways.


UPRT InstructorChris Hadlow

Hadders has held executive positions within two Air Forces! He was an RAF Jaguar squadron Executive Officer and Flight Commander, and was also an Alphajet Flight Commander with the French Air Force, where his mastery of the language ensured that all of his students flew brilliantly.

He was previously a Qualified Flying, Tactics and Weapons Instructor on the Hawk, whicih followed a Jaguar tour which included Operational flying over the Former Republic of Yugoslavia. He has additionally been a Jaguar Air Test Pilot and Electronic Warfare Instructor.

Hadders is one of a number of UH Instructors who is looking forward to this season's BAeA aerobatic competitions!


Extra300 PilotSteve Hicks

Hicko learnt to fly with Cambridge University Air Squadron and joined the RAF in 1980. After training Steve was posted to No 41 Sqn, flying Jaguars in the reconnaissance role at RAF Coltishall near Norwich. He graduated first place in every RAF Flying Course attended. In 1985 he learnt to fly the Harrier, and whilst flying with No 4 Sqn at RAF Gutersloh in Germany became a qualified weapons instructor (QWI).

He left the RAF in 1989, joining British Airways to fly the 747-400 on long haul routes, changing in 2000 to short haul, flying the 737-400 around Europe. He is now a Senior Captain flying the Airbus A320. During the early 90s Steve built a small light aircraft in his garden shed which went on to win the best in class award at the PFA Rally and has enjoyed many years of flying it.

Steve is our Extra300 standards Instructor Pilot.


Jet Provost PilotAndy Hill

Like many on the Ultimate High staff, Andy started his career flying T67 Fireflys on a University Air Squadron, and after excelling on fast jet training was 'creamed off' and went straight into instructing on the Jet Provost.

He then operated the Harrier GR5/7 in Germany. After flying the A340 and B757/767 his day job is captaining an Airbus.

He is a very experienced formation instructor and display pilot, and regularly displays the RV-8, Jet Provost and Hunter.


CAA Examiner PilotDave Jones

An early starter, DJ started flying at 15 via the ATC, gaining his licence at 17. His background includes being CFI at Bristol Flying Centre for nine years and flying Corporate jets and Turboprops as a Training Captain with Air Hanson.

A yearning for some "fun" flying found DJ with the Police Aviation Services as Training Captain. During this period he flew in the Caribbean, working with the DEA and various Police agencies in anti-drugs and illegal immigration. On his return he attended the International Test Pilot School (ITPS) test flying course at Woodford, flying the Jet Provost, BAe 146 and the Slingsby Firefly. With over 13000hrs, he is an FI / FIC/ FIE /TRE /IRE.

Day job is as a Captain on Corporate jets and Turboprops, and the rest of the time he fills his boots flying for Ultimate High as well as the odd Yak trip.


British Air Racing Champion PilotRobert Miller

Nitro flew Strike Canberras out of Cyprus and then instructed on Jet Provosts in Linton and SF260s and Strikemasters in Singapore. For two years Nitro was No2 to ex-Yellowjack Brian Nice in a 4 Strikemaster formation aerobatics team.

He has massive instructional experience including the JP, Canberra, Strikemaster, Chipmunk and most recently the T67 Firefly with JEFTS, where he was qualified as FI, FIE, FIC, TRE and CREIR. Nitro has over 5000 hours on tailwheel types alone and aircraft flown include the Tiger Moth, Hornet Moth, Auster, Taylorcraft, Condor, Jodel, CAP10, CAP20, Chipmunk, Pawnee, Provost, Miles Gemini, Stearman, Cub and the Pitts Special.

Nitro is an experienced air racer and was crowned British Air Racing Champion in 2003.


chief test pilotPhill O'Dell

Pod is Chief Test Pilot and Head of Flying at Rolls-Royce PLC (Aero Engines), and also displays the Rolls Royce MkXIX Spitfire. Until November 2001 he was Officer Commanding the Research & Development Flight of the Fast Jet Test Squadron at DERA Boscombe Down. He flew Buccaneers and then taught as a Tactical Weapons Instructor and Flying Instructor on Hawks at Brawdy.

He then moved to the Jaguar and flew operationally over Bosnia and Iraq.

He was selected by the RAF to attend the French Test Pilot School at Istres in Provence and flew over 25 aircraft from the F-14 Tomcat to the Airbus A320.


RAF Tornado PilotBill Perrins

Billy P has nearly 15,000 hours of flying experience, having flown tours on Tornado F3 fighters, Vulcan bombers, Jet Provost and Hawk aircraft. Bill is currently flying as a Training Captain on B747-400 aircraft and displays the Rolls Royce Spitfire Mk XIX and the mighty Vulcan.  He also flies various smaller aircraft including the Yak 50, Yak 52, and instructs on the T6 Harvard.

He has a long association with vintage aircraft having over 500 hours flying Air Cadets in Chipmunk aircraft within the RAF Air Experience Scheme and previously owned a Bucker Jungmann biplane.


Steve Chief Aerobatics InstructorSteve Johnson

Jos is Ultimate High’s Chief Flying Instructor. He flew Harrier GR3s operationally in West Germany, the Falkland Islands & Belize and flew for the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows. Jos flew with the Reds from 1988-1990 and in his third year flew in the prestigious position of Synchro Pair Lead.

He joined Team Toyota after leaving the RAF and displayed a Pitts Special as part of a 4-ship aerobatic team led by Nigel Lamb. He has also displayed a variety of warbirds including the Spitfire, P-40, P-47, P-63, Hurricane, Wildcat, Hellcat & the F-4U Corsair. Jos recently retired from Virgin Atlantic where he was a Training Captain, flying the A340, 330 & 320.

Jos has been instrumental in helping to develop and deliver the Ultimate High Academy’s Industry Leading UPRT Upset Prevention and Recovery Training programme.  In his spare time he plays classical piano and tinkers with old cars.


Jim Ex-RAF Jaguar & Hawk PilotJim Gosling

Jim joined the Royal Air Force in 1980 and has over 2000 hours on the Jaguar in the attack and reconnaissance roles and was a flight commander and executive officer on 54(F) Squadron.

Jim flew on Operation Warden over Northern Iraq and Operation Deny Flight peackeeping missions over Bosnia. He had previously taught air combat and tactics at RAF Chivenor where he was a Qualified Weapons Instructor on the Hawk.

Following his flying in the RAF Jim did a ground tour as part of the RAF presentation team before joining the airlines where he currently flies the Airbus A320/330 for Thomas Cook.


Gordon Ex-RAF Tornado and Jaguar PilotGordon Harwell

Gordo gained his PPL at age 17 under a flying scholarship. He joined the RAF in 1981 and flew the Bulldog with Aberdeen, Dundee and St Andrews Universities Air Sqn winning the regional aerobatic competition. After gaining his RAF wings he flew Tornado GR1 based in Germany with IX Sqn and flew 14 missions during Gulf War 1.

He then flew a desk at Boscombe Down as a trials officer for Tornado, providing clearances for weapon aiming and mission systems mainly for operations in Bosnia. He followed this with 2 Tucano tours as Flight Commander, both as a Pilot Navigator Instructor and as a QFI and IRE. Since leaving the RAF Gordo has flown Boeing 757/767and 737 and is now a Training Captain with easyJet on the Airbus A319 and A320.


Neil Ex-Royal Navy Sea King & Harrier PilotNeil Jones

Neil started his flying career flying Sea King helicopters with the Fleet Air Arm, which included a tour in the Falklands. He then moved onto the Sea Harrier, based on the Ark Royal, and also flew the Hunter and instructed on the Hawk aircraft whilst with the Navy.

For several years he flew the "Arrows Experience" (formation aerobatics using 2 Pitts aircraft) with Ultimate High's Head of Training Steve Johnson (Jos).  In his spare time he is often to be found out flying or on one of his motorbikes.

His current job is as a highly experienced Airline and Training Captain with Virgin Atlantic where he flies the Airbus A330/340.


Sam Worthington-LeeseSam Worthington-Leese

Sam joined the RAF in 2009 where he flew the Grob Tutor, Shorts Tucano and T67. The Strategic Defence and Security Review resulted in many pilots exiting the RAF in 2012, and after leaving he threw himself into civilian flying training where he instructed for 5 years.

Sam now flies the Boeing 737 as his day job, but his real passion lies with Aerobatics and Vintage Aircraft. Since leaving the RAF he has flown over 2000hrs on many aircraft types including the Tiger Moth, Stampe, Piper Cub, Chipmunk, Extra 300, T67 Firefly, Harvard and Spitfire.

His ultimate goal is to become a Warbird Display pilot and he hopes to replicate his Grandfather’s WWII fighter flying.  He is also very involved in a charity established to rebuild a WWII Hawker Typhoon, which he will fly when it's completed.


Chris KingswoodChris Kingswood

CJ started his RAF career in the C130H Hercules and then spent a substantial amount of time instructing around the world.  He flew an exchange tour with the Canadian CT114 Jet, was lent to Saudi Arabia to instruct on the Pilatus PC9 and achieved an A1 QFI rating. He left the military and flew with Virgin and easyJet where he became Chief Training Captain.

Chris has spent much time instructing on a variety of civilian and aerobatic aircraft including the Harvard, Pitts S2, Tiger Moth, Yak 50 & 52.


Paddy BoltonPaddy Bolton

Paddy has flown a wide variety of aircraft types and is currently a Training Captain and Type Rating Examiner on the Airbus A320 fleet for a major UK airline, with over 10,000 hours logged.

He started his flying career as an instructor before flying twin engine piston aircraft and the Kingair for an air ambulance company.   For several years he was the CFI of a south coast flying school where he introduced the AOPA aerobatics course and the WWII North American Harvard onto the fleet. Paddy has displayed the Harvard and 8KCAB Super Decathlon.  His passion for flying has always been Aerobatics and although the day job is very much about the world staying the right way up, he enjoys nothing more than being upside down!


Tim GranshawTim Granshaw

Having been hooked on Aviation from a very early age, most of Tim’s adult life has been spent in and around aircraft of some description, starting off working in Aerodrome Operations, Air Traffic and in  Aviation Fire and Rescue. Since getting his Commercial Licence and becoming an Instructor at the age of 26, most of Tim’s flying has been in historic, high performance tailwheel aircraft.

He teaches in Chipmunks, T6 Harvards and flies the Iconic Supermarine Spitfire MKIX and TR9 variants. Tim splits his time between the role of Chief Flight Instructor for Boultbee (Spitfire) Flight Academy at Goodwood, and as a UPRT Instructor with Ultimate High.


Gilbert DoughertyGilbert Dougherty

Gilbert joined the University of London Air Squadron where he spent three years as a competition aerobatic pilot on Grob Tutor and T67M260 aircraft winning the Ex-Members Trophy each year. Gilbert left the RAF following the Strategic Defence and Security Review 2010, crossing the corridor and joining the Royal Navy Reserve where he remains on the trained strength. 

He has accrued over 3000 hours to date and since joining a well known British airline, Gilbert has flown A319/A320/A321 aircraft and currently flies the Boeing 747-400. He relaxes by instructing on a variety of vintage and modern piston aircraft.