Share this article
How do you become an instructor at the world’s only Spitfire fighter aircraft training school?
By Paul Jansen
John Dodd’s logbook is a testament to persistence.
While employed at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Dodd flew old aircraft like the Tiger Moth and Chipmunk. This whetted his appetite for flying and he moved to Germany and built up his hours flying para-jumpers.
With 700 hours on Islanders under his belt, Dodd switched jobs and flew aerial surveillance for the Scottish Fisheries Agency. This was followed by a move up to the bigger Boeing 737, with British Midland International.
Bigger, and more sophisticated, is not always the only route for pilots. Such is the case with Dodd who continues to fly old planes. He also owns a Pitts Special.
His decision to become a full-time pilot to fulfill his dream of flying more planes has paid off. Dodd’s logged hours and types have qualified him to now instruct on the entire fleet at the Boultbee Flight Academy: the Tiger Moth, Chipmunk, Harvard, and, the most coveted British warbird of all, the Spitfire.
(Editor’s note: The Pitts Special is an aerobatic biplane which made its debut in 1944. The Britten-Norman Islander is a light utility aircraft which sells well in Europe. The Harvard, also known as the T6 Texan, is a World War II advanced trainer, which the Allied Forces used to teach their pilots combat skills before moving them up to the powerful frontline Spitfire fighter aircraft.)