Stampe Formation Flying Team

Pilot Profiles

Chris Jesson

Chris Jesson

1955! It all started with a plastic model spitfire....

My imagination was fired up – a few years later joining the ATC gave me my first flight in a Chipmunk and never looked back.

Gained my PPL in a Tiger Moth in 1971.  Joined the Tiger Club in 1972 and things really took off from then – aerobatics, formation flying and air displays.

1979 I became a Commercial Pilot with Dan Air retiring from easyJet  in 2009 with 20800 hrs!

I flew in the biplane 4 with Tiger Club and this became the basis of our current 4’ ship display. Working with a team like this is extremely rewarding – the team spirit being the heart of the display.

Having fallen in love with the Stampe at the Tiger Club, I had the opportunity of buying many pieces of a Stampe (roughly called an aircraft!) in 1990 and spent 9 years rebuilding her.

I have led large formations (up to 21 aircraft), a 13 ship formation over Gatwick during the ash crisis , over the Olympic flame at Leeds Castle and last but not least a diamond 9 over the Bomber Command Memorial at Beachy Head.

I also do solo aerobatic displays for a bit of light relief.

pilot profile one

Angus Buchanan

Angus recalls gluing his fingers to many airfix models, before graduating to towing balsa wood aircraft behind his bike. Every outing continued until the wings folded. Overnight repairs allowed the whole enterprise to be repeated the next day, but extra weight required ever more speed........ That was it until the birthday present of a trial flight many years later. "Would you like to fly over your house or make this a lesson" asked instructor Victor. The lesson was tempting, making this sortie the most expensive birthday present on record!

Having learned to fly at Prestwick, with a long runway and "Airport Procedures", relocation to Headcorn and a chance encounter with the Tiger club was a culture shock. Something went right, leading to purchase of the fabled G-AWEF from the Tiger Club in 2004 - the log book of which is a who's who of aviation's good and great, the majority of whom cut their aerobatic teeth in this beautiful machine.

Building things hasn't been left behind. Angus is constructing his own aircraft, having bought 400 drawings and a tree 23 years ago - the "thing in the shed" is perilously close to flying, much to the relief of the most patient wife on earth. Was that trial flight present such a good idea......?"

Richard Ward

Richard Ward

I remember watching the Battle of Britain as a 5 year old with my father, and that was it, I had to be a pilot. After being taught to fly by Barry Tempest on an RAF flying scholarship, I first came into contact with the Tiger Club whilst training with Bristows at Redhill in the eighties before helicopter flying took me away from the south east of England. Moving to work for the airlines at Gatwick, the demise of our group owned Cub lead me to buy a share in our Stampe, BWEF, in 1995, recently restored by a Tiger Club member at Redhill as a homage to AWEF.

Through a friendship with Bill Merry, the teams number 4, I was introduced to Chris Jesson, and the Headcorn Aviators Club and so began the most exciting and enjoyable phase of my flying career so far. Training during 2016 and formation trips to Antwerp and Pithiviers were my own personal highlights, only surpassed by my first display appearances with the team at Headcorn in 2017. The camaraderie within the team is fantastic and I am looking forward to winter training and to getting the 2018 season underway and to sharing our beautiful bi-planes with as many people as possible.

Bill Merry

Bill Merry

Born 1954, joined the Air Cadets at 13, and made my first glider solo at 16. Joined the RAF straight from school and flew Gnats and Hunters but didn't make it through to operational status and left after 3 years. Became a civil flying instructor at 22 while working as a salesman to raise the money to gain a commercial pilot's licence.

Having succeeded, spent 34 years flying for 6 airlines, including many years as a captain on the Boeing 727, 737 and 777, finally retiring from BA at 59.

Now enjoying life in Sussex, doing a little charity work, and various other things I never had time for before, like joining a choir and learning Spanish. Currently flying the Stampe in solo aerobatic and formation displays.

"People like you don't get jobs like that!" they told me at school.....

Roger Bishops

Roger Bishops

Having been a flying nut since listening to my Fathers wartime adventures as a rear gunner in Bomber Command. I saved up to learn to fly and in 1981 took lessons in the USA on Long Island. Working on the airstrip to help pay.

On my return I joined Air Touring flying club at Biggin Hill. I heard about the Tiger Club at Redhill Aerodrome who had Tiger Moths and being a vintage petrolhead it sounded just the club for me.  I checked out on the Moth and once I was solo it afforded me access to the single seat turbulent which then led to me joining the Turbulent Formation team. Flying with the team for ten years with displays around the UK and in France and the Netherlands.

I joined the Tiger Club Biplane formation team in the late 1990’s and have enjoyed flying with the team until the Tiger Club move away.  I have been very fortunate to have access to display in Angus’s Stampe when he was unable to display  himself. A couple of years ago I bought a share in G-AYIJ which I fly in the Stampe Team today.

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