00:00:03 My name is Jonathan G. I’ve flown professionally virtually all of my life. And in fact I’ve been flying the line today, I’ve flown our scheduled service back from Le Touquet in France. I started flying when I was 13 years old, inspired by a book I read by Paul Brickhill about Douglas Bader. And it was quite difficult to start flying at that age but I’ve – I literally went into a flying school, and looked up at the guy and said ‘Is it possible for a 13 year old to learn to fly?’ And he said yes, if you can sit on a cushion and reach the controls, that should work all right. Now of course you can’t go solo until you’re 16, but I got a lot of good flying in up until that point.
00:00:45 With regard to my school history, I would say that I probably was not a good student at all. I was distracted by a number of things. In my secondary schooling, I was doing quite well at school and my father unfortunately died when I was 15, which was right in the middle of my O-Level examinations. And that did disrupt the O-Level examinations. But unfortunately my mother contracted cancer, probably as a result of my father dying, so that disrupted my A-Level schooling as well. Now having said that, I actually managed to get some quite good results, from both my O-Levels and my A-Levels, which are a requirement for becoming a professional pilot, or certainly they were back then.
00:01:28 I did have an ambition to join the Royal Air Force, and one of my father’s close friends – he put me off doing that. He was a Group Captain with the Royal Air Force, so I had a great deal of respect for his position, and if he was putting me off, then there had to be a good reason. And so I did a little bit of Accountancy work after I’d finished my A-Level schooling, but I guess it was in my heart to become a professional pilot. So I started training to be a profession pilot when I’d – when I was nineteen and a half years old.
00:01:58 The high points of my career I think were attaining my position that I did within British Caledonian. When I was flying as an airline pilot for them I was the youngest of quite a few brackets as I went through my career history with them. And I did twelve years flying, half my time long haul, half my time on short haul.
00:02:18 A typical month would have you away for seven or eight nights on night stops in European destinations. And then long haul was very different. You would not be well advised to want to be a strong family man when you’re travelling – when you’re working as a long haul pilot.
00:02:34 I’ve had a varied life. I’ve been involved with airport ownership, as well as the airline start up and development and airline ownership. With regard to Lydd Airport, I purchased it with City institutional money in 1987, and the development plans fell foul of the Stock Market crash in October of that same year. And the institutional investors decided that they wanted continue with a different plan from the original, and so we parted in 1988. And in 1996 I was able to buy Lydd Airport back, using substantially my own cash.
00:03:11 If I could, I would like to sail solo around the world. That would be a great ambition. I don’t think I’ve got it in me. I used to think I could definitely do it, but – I was inspired by reading Sir Francis Chichester’s book The Lonely Sea and the Sky. And he actually sailed solo round the world when he’d contracted lung cancer, and he was given only a short time to live. And he proved to everybody that you could psych your way out of that, and I think a large part of that was him actually sailing solo around the world. So that would be something, if I could, I would like to do.