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Chris Hadlow

Spitfire Pilot

Chris Hadlow

Chris was born 28 Feb 1968 in Singapore. He lived for the majority of his childhood in Bedford, where he studied for his 'O' and 'A' levels at Bedford Modern School. It was during these formative years that he became interested in flying through both his Father, a former RAF pilot, and the School's CCF RAF Section. He gained a Flying Scholarship through the RAF in 1985 and gained his private licence that year. Shortly after, He obtained a sponsorship from the RAF to attend the University College of Cardiff, where He read Transport Management and Law graduating with a 2.1 BSc(Hons) in 1989.


After a 6 month trip backpacking around the world, he joined the RAF in April 1990 to train as a pilot. In Aug 1993 he joined his first operational unit, 6 Squadron at RAF Coltishall, flying the Jaguar. During the next 3 years, He flew numerous sorties over the Former Republic of Yugoslavia in support of the UN mission 'Operation Deny Flight'.


In Oct 1994 he married Dawn, a fellow RAF pilot who was an instructor on the Tucano and latterly, before she left in 1999, was a pilot on the HS-125 on 32(The Royal) Squadron.


At the end of 1996 He was posted to RAF Valley to be a Hawk instructor on 74 Squadron. Here he taught the art of air combat as well as low level ground attack techniques and was one of only a handful of the instructors who was qualified to teach air-ground weapons delivery.


In Mid-1999 he was posted to Cazaux Air Base near Bordeaux to fly the Alphajet on exchange with the French Air Force doing ostensibly the same job as at Valley but in French. His time in France was most enjoyable on both a professional and personal level especially when in April 2001 Dawn gave birth to their first child Lucy.


In Oct 2002 he returned to the Jaguar on promotion as one of 3 Flight Commanders, once again on 6 Squadron. The following 2½ years were the most satisfying of his entire RAF career, in particular the year he spent as second in command of the Squadron. Other highlights included the challenge of flying at night at low level using Night Vision Goggles and organising the Squadron's 90th Anniversary celebrations. Equally, the birth of his son James in Nov 2003 was another memorable moment.


In Apr 2006 he left the RAF following a year in the HQ at RAF High Wycombe, where among other issues he oversaw the sad but inevitable drawdown of the Jaguar and the closure of RAF Coltishall.


He then worked for a short while for British Airways flying the A320 around Europe, but in Mar 2007 took the opportunity to work for TAG Aviation (UK) Ltd as a Gulfstream 450 Captain. He now has nearly 1500 hours on the aircraft flying all over the world.


When time permits he also instructs flying and aerobatics on the Chipmunk, Bulldog and Extra 300 and has competed in aerobatics competitions in the CAP10 and this year he will fly some displays in the Extra300.


Chris is also heavily involved in fly2help, the aviation charity based at Kemble. This excellent charity which supports those with life-limiting and chronic illnesses, as well as those struggling to live with bereavement and disability or abuse, aims to provide some respite through a bespoke day of fun and escapism by getting them airborne so they may see the world from a different perspective and have an uplifting experience.


Chris is married to Dawn and has two children.


Chris flies the Chipmunk, Harvard and Spitfire for the Academy.

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