Smithy (as he likes to be known) has had a keen interest in flying for many years, as his father was a qualified flying instructor who flew Jet Provost aircraft at RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire.
Ian Smith joined the RAF in 1983 and his first operational posting was flying Chinook helicopters in Germany, Northern Ireland and the Falklands. Following a tour as a flying instructor at Linton-on-Ouse Ian was posted to RAF Coltishall in Norfolk on 41 (F) Squadron flying Jaguars. During his time at Coltishall Ian took part in operations over Iraq and Bosnia. After Ian's experience flying fast jets his next tour was flying Hawks with The Red Arrows Aerobatic Team. This was followed by a year in Saudi Arabia as team manager for The Saudi Hawks Aerobatic Team. Ian returned to the Jaguar force in time to see No. 6 Squadron at RAF Coningsby, which in fact was the RAF's last squadron operating the Jaguar to disband.
His next posting was to RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire as the new Officer Commanding No. 16 R Elementary Flying Training Squadron, flying the Grob Tutor. Ian spent four years with the BBMF as a volunteer fighter pilot and took over as OC BBMF at the end of 2009. The Officer Commanding is responsible for training the BBMF fighter pilots and carrying out air tests on the BBMF's fighter aircraft. Also overseeing operations, engineering and planning, and management of the display programme undertaken by the BBMF every year.
After three years as the boss with the BBMF Smithy has retired from the RAF. 2013 has new beginnings for Smithy in his new job as a civilian display pilot with the world famous aerobatic display team The Blades.
Smithy was a part of Spitfires.com when it was first opened and rejoined the team for the 2023 season.