The Team

Mark Phillips


Mark has been interested in aviation from an early age.  He was awarded a Royal Navy Flying Scholarship and achieved a PPL in 1978.  He subsequently joined the Navy as a seaman officer, driving ships, and was selected for aviation duties after six years spent mainly in the South Atlantic.  He achieved Navy wings (the sort “made of gold”) and became a Lynx helicopter pilot, flying from the back of various frigates and destroyers all over the world, with an emphasis on the Persian Gulf. His naval career led to a couple of shore jobs, one of which allowed him to indulge himself with a squadron of Chipmunks and a large allowance of flying hours.  At the same time he renewed his civilian PPL and flew a lot from Compton Abbas.  By the late nineties he decided to leave the Navy and pursue a career in the airline business, helicopters being far too dangerous! He completed his civilian licences whilst carrying out testing on a new type of Lynx at RNAS Portland and Yeovilton.  Having left the Service and before getting an airline job he found himself at a loose end and decided to qualify as a Flying Instructor.  He worked for bmi for 13 years flying Boeing 737’s, Fokker 100’s and Airbus 319’s up to longhaul 330’s for the last 7 years.  bmi was recently bought by British Airways and Mark is now on the shorthaul Airbus Fleet at Heathrow. Most of his instructional flying has been conducted from Old Sarum, with an emphasis on PPL and tailwheel training.  He has flown 11,000 hours over the course of 28 years of professional flying. He is married with two sons and lives just up the road from Old Sarum.  His interests outside of flying are taken up with his garden and his car (a TR6) but he does spend a lot of time “fun flying” in an old Cherokee 180 in which he has a share.  This has allowed him to fly the family to various parts of Northern Europe and he hopes to get further and further away from home ground as time goes on. If money were no object he would dearly like to buy a more serious touring aeroplane, but if money really weren’t an issue he would buy a Chipmunk as well, his favourite of all the aircraft he has flown.

David Wood

Flying Instructor

Flying has always been close to David Wood’s heart. He learned to fly in 1978 upon being awarded a Special Flying Award by the RAF whilst still at school. For a period at that age he had a PPL before he had a driving licence. In those far-off days life as a fighter pilot was all that he aspired to. However, an outbreak of common sense led him to join the Army rather than the RAF. He spent over 20 years as an Army officer, serving across the world in a wide variety of roles before retiring in 2001. Throughout his career he kept up his flying. He owned a flex-wing microlight in the mid 80s and since then has co-owned a series of aeroplanes including a Jodel that was based at Old Sarum for many years. Setting up his own business after leaving the Army, David quite frequently found himself flying to meetings within the UK and occasionally within Europe. The vagaries of the British weather meant that it wasn’t too long before he realised that an IMC rating was the only practical way to do that. So in 2003 David obtained his IMC rating at Old Sarum and still regularly uses the very useful privileges of this rating. In 2009 David transitioned into what his wife calls his third life: working as a non-executive director and chairman of a number of businesses. As a part of this transition he was determined to develop his flying to a professional level. Accordingly he obtained his Commercial Pilot’s Licence and his Flying Instructor rating. He now instructs PPL pilot training, aerobatics, instruments and tail-wheel conversion training. He is also a CAA Flight Examiner. David has been a pilot for well over 30 years but there isn’t a moment aloft when he doesn’t still marvel at the miracle of flight. Whether pottering around the sky in a vintage open cockpit, or looping and rolling over Old Sarum, or making a challenging instrument approach into somewhere busy on a grotty day he’s equally likely to be smiling to himself with the sheer delight at being able to fly.