Rich Pillans, Chief Executive

As the charity’s Chief Executive, Rich leads the team of volunteers who make our amazing charity a success.

Rich also flies the Bell 47 Sioux helicopter in The Flight’s signature 4-ship flying display and his favourite task is to take the Sioux into schools to inspire young people about aviation.

Rich is married with two daughters and his day job is the Chief Test Pilot for Boeing UK & Australia, leading aircrew and engineering teams across both countries.

Col Gavin Rundle

Gavin is a serving AAC officer with 25 years of rotary and RPAS/UAS experience. He has commanded at all levels, flying the Lynx on operations and the Gazelle in support of UK Homeland resilience. He currently commands the British Army Watchkeeper Force – most recently he has operated the Watchkeeper RPAS in support of UK homeland and NATO operations.

He has owned and operated several vintage fixed-wing aircraft, including two WW2 Auster MkVs.

He joined the Board in 2017 which, alongside board membership of the Assault Glider Trust since 2009, links to his interest in promoting Army Aviation heritage, and to the important work of these charities in support of veteran wellbeing and charitable goals. He assumed responsibility for strategy development in November 2022.

Steve Harris, Engineering Manager

Steve joined the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers as an Apprentice Aircraft Technician in 1977. A series of postings followed in the UK and West Germany maintaining and repairing Army helicopters. Following Artificer training in 1988, Steve saw service at numerous Army Aviation units including a two-year tour in Canada.

Steve was Commissioned in 1997 and appointed to Staff, Technical and Command appointments before retiring as a Major in 2005.

A full second career in the Defence Industry followed with senior roles in operations, business management and business development for QinetiQ, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin and Cobham.

Now retired, Steve is the Engineering Manager for The Flight and delighted to reunite with
aircraft previously worked on as a very young Lance Corporal.

Richard Folkes

Richard completed a 30-year career in the Army Air Corps serving as a Cold War soldier in Germany, as an instructor at RMA Sandhurst and the Army Staff College and as a Whitehall warrior in MoD Main Building. He managed to squeeze in 5 operational tours at all levels of unit command, including an AAC Squadron in the First Gulf War. His final AAC tour was as the Director of Army Aviation in which he was responsible for bringing the Apache AH Mk1 into Army service.

After leaving the Army in 2007 Richard followed a career with Leonardo Helicopters (formerly AgustaWestland).

Richard has always had a passion for preserving and maintaining the heritage of Army Aviation and was delighted to return to the Board in 2022.

Julian Hickman, Chair

Julian is the Chair of the Board and takes the lead on governance and financial aspects of the charity’s operation.

Julian also flies the DHC2 Beaver aeroplane in The Flight’s signature 4-ship display.

As a flying instructor his favourite task is teaching other pilots formation and display flying and taking every opportunity to share his passion for flying with others, young and old alike.

Julian is married with three teenage children and is a founder partner of a venture capital business in London specialising in tech investing.

Col Ed Butterworth

Ed Butterworth is a serving AAC officer with 25 years of rotary and fixed wing experience.  He has commanded at all levels, flying the Gazelle and Islander on operations.

He joined the HAAF Board in 2021 and has a keen interest in promoting the heritage of the AAC and the aircraft of the HAAF.

Colin Gillespie, Chief Engineer

Colin completed 23 years’ service, rising in the ranks to attain the highest non-commissioned rank, Warrant Officer Class 1. Trained in all aspects of helicopter maintenance and management, he served in the following countries, Federal Republic of Germany, Cyprus and UK. He undertook all the maintenance activities associated with the first and second line maintenance of Sioux, Scout, Gazelle and Lynx.

During his time in the UK he was employed in the School of Aeronautical Engineering to instruct all personnel in the principles of field and workshop management. He has dealt with all aspects of non-destructive testing, vibration analysis and IT systems for engineering purposes.

Following his army service, Colin worked as a Technical Author for Westland Helicopters before returning to Middle Wallop as a Technical Author in Aircraft Branch. Various jobs then culminated at Army HQ Andover where he retired in 2016.

Colin joined the HAAF as a volunteer engineer in September 2017. He is married to Elizabeth who is also a volunteer with HAAF.

Mark Meaton, Engagement Lead

Mark grew up in an AAC family, spending the most part of his childhood between the ages of 2 and 10 in the Far East, via family postings to Beaver Flights in Kluang, Malaya (14 Flight, 656 Squadron) and Changi, Singapore (130 Flight, RCT).

Having completed an Honours Degree in Physics and Computer Science he continued his travels, working as a consultant and project manager on various IT projects around the world, living or working in 16 countries.

He still works full time in the IT sector, and while volunteering in the Army Flying Museum Archives as a researcher in 2018 was persuaded to join the HAAF, to help with the display of the Skeeter at public events. He took on the role of Engagement Lead in 2021.

He is also Archivist for both 656 Squadron Association and the Glider Pilot Regiment Society.

Julian Hickman, Pilot

Julian flies the DHC2 Beaver aeroplane in The Flight’s signature 4-ship display.

As a flying instructor his favourite task is teaching other pilots formation and display flying and taking every opportunity to share his passion for flying with others, young and old alike.

Julian is also the Chair of the Board and takes the lead on governance and financial aspects of the charity’s operation.

Julian is married with three teenage children and is a founder partner of a venture capital business in London specialising in tech investing.

Rich Pillans, Pilot

Rich flies the Bell 47 Sioux helicopter in The Flight’s signature 4-ship flying display and his favourite task is to take the Sioux into schools to inspire young people about aviation.

As the charity’s Chief Executive, Rich leads the team of volunteers who make our amazing charity a success.

Rich is married with two daughters and his day job is the Chief Test Pilot for Boeing UK & Australia, leading aircrew and engineering teams across both countries.

Paul McNulty, Pilot

Paul McNulty flies the Auster AOP9 as the Display Pilot for the 4-ship flying display and on introductory flights. He is also a Light Aircraft Association authorised Auster Flight Test Pilot.

Paul retired from the Army Air Corps in 2013 to join Handling Squadron, Boscombe Down. During his military flying career, as a graduate of the Empire Test Pilots’ School, he was fortunate to fly a variety of helicopters ranging from the Wessex Mk5 to the Apache AH Mk1.

He holds an aerobatics rating and practises the occasional loop and roll in a Firefly when the weather is fair.

Paul Stanton, Pilot

In 2017, Paul Stanton joined the Flight and renewed his relationship with the Westland Scout, a type that he last flew in 1981 whilst serving with the Army Air Corps. He gained his Display Authorisation in 2019 and has supported all Scout display activity from 2019 to 2022, along with flying other tasking with the Flight.

Paul, whose previous career included employment as a Qualified Helicopter Instructor (QHI) at Flight, Squadron and Regimental levels, finishing his Army time as a Staff Instructor at the Central Flying School (Helicopters) at RAF Shawbury.

Since leave the military, Paul has been employed as a civilian rotary instructor, a Police Pilot for London and Surrey forces, an Apache Simulator Instructor and finally the Training Centre Manager for the Apache Synthetic Training facility located at Middle Wallop.

James Hazou, Pilot

James (Jim) Hazou is a former British Army Air Corps officer, who served with the Corps from 1987 until 2004.

He commenced his military flying career on the Gazelle AH1 helicopter and finished it as the AAC Fixed-Wing Standards officer, examining and instructing on the AAC Islander fleet, Slingsby Firefly fixed-wing trainer and the Flight’s Beaver AL1, Auster MK9 and Chipmunk T10 aircraft.

Since leaving the British Army, James has worked extensively within commercial aviation and remains current as a Training Captain on the Bombardier Global Express long-range business jet. He has also worked with the security industry worldwide and the UK Joint Services and Defence contract sector.

James is delighted to be back with the Flight as a volunteer fixed-wing pilot.

Jim Trayhurn, Chief Pilot

Jim flies the Westland Scout AH Mk1 helicopter as both the Display Pilot for the 4-ship flying display but also for the additional activities that the Flight undertake such as introductory flights and school visits.

As the Chief Pilot, Jim is responsible for the supervision of the Flight’s aircrew.

He completed around 18 years in the Army Air Corps with the majority of his time spent flying the Apache – including multiple operational tours in Afghanistan with the aircraft. Jim was also part of the Attack Helicopter Display Team (AHDT) whilst in the AAC and was lucky enough to be the Display Pilot in 2015 and 2017, along with multiple other roles in the Team.

Jim has a partner and a step-daughter and his day job is as a Civilian Qualified Helicopter Instructor (CQHI) for Boeing, working for the AAC on the AH-64E at Middle Wallop.