Derek Clews

Derek is part of our core team of Instructors. He has a vast wealth of flying experience. 

Derek was fascinated with aircraft flying above from an early age. At age 13 he joined the Air Training Corps. That gave access to aviation and flying in the Air Experience DHC 1 Chipmunks and T21 gliders.

As a teenager Derek got a Saturday job at the airport an hour away cleaning the aircraft and the hangar.

Derek completed his PPL alongside his degree in aeronautical engineering at the age of 22. 

He worked for Westland Helicopters as an engineer, in the Flight Test Dept. As a flight test engineer Derek was responsible for organising, carrying out and reporting on trials of the helicopters, systems and equipment and crewing helicopters for test operations.

Derek flew as crew/co-pilot on the attempt on the world helicopter speed record. That was achieved on 11th August 1986 at 400.87kph. (249.1 mph) at 500 ft over Somerset in G-LYNX. It is still the current world record after 36 years!

He also worked with the Mission Aviation Fellowship in Tanzania for over 10 years. His duties involved regular safaris for vaccinations, medical evacuations, flying food/ freight as well as people. 

On his return to the UK, he then went on fly for several operators over the years: the ATR72 with British World Airlines (co-pilot),  the Dash 8-300 & Embraer 145 with Brymon Airways (Captain), Dash 8-400 & Embraer 175/195 Jets for Flybe (Captain).

Over his flying career Derek has accumulated over 13,700 hrs, and 550 hrs helicopter testing.