Jonathan Porter

Print page

Age: No idea. Ran out of patience to count that high!

Aviation skills: Build, inspect, maintain, fly – LAA and BMAA types.

Total Flying time: approx. 5000 hours

Aeroplanes flown: Cessna singles, Piper singles, Zenair/Zenith, X-Air, Skyranger, Boeing Stearman, Tiger Moth, Jodels, Extra 300, etc – oh and a short blast at a DC8 cargo and a formation/aerobatic sortie in an Aermacchi MB339 trainer jet.

Favourite Flight: Flying with my wife and/or daughter. Low level survey of a banana disease along the Ghanaian coast in West Africa… and health education drop runs to rural villages… and taking people flying who have never flown before… and … and…. If you have a few days, we could list more…. Lots more….

Background: At the age of 11, I was bullied at school and spent a while in hospital as a result.  It messed with my health and my education, but later I won a scholarship for two years to do my O levels at a small private school in Sussex. Moving on to my A levels at the local comprehensive, I was unfortunate enough to receive a back injury that stopped me completing my formal education and reduced a bit further my ‘energetic abilities’.  Nonetheless, I found work in engineering and learned about CNC production – working on several interesting projects along the way (including automotive and aviation).  My work with robotics and production gave me a strong ICT and data analysis skillset that opened a wide range of doors, allowing me to afford to fly alongside my working career until aviation took over completely!

In 1988 I took a trial flight in Cessna 150 from Sywell Airport, near Northampton, UK. It was the most incredible thing – as if my body was flooded with the Aurora Borealis – I came alive with sensations of joy, awe and freedom – it was if I was born to fly!  When I landed, there was no doubt that I wanted to learn to fly.  With my health background I was never going to be an airline pilot, but I could learn to fly as a private pilot…. and a few years later obtained my first pilots’ licence (a French microlight licence, as it happens). Later, I obtained a British PPL (Private Pilot’s Licence), built my own planes, and went on to establish a busy private airfield in Ghana, West Africa, for training young people and humanitarian outreach.  I have flown many thousands of hours as an instructor, air drop pilot, banner towing, aerial photo/video missions, display flying and more… and consider myself to be extremely fortunate in all that I have been able to experience.

In 2015 I moved back to the UK, and set up Metal Seagulls Ltd, with my incredible wife, Patricia, as a family aviation business. Together we sell aircraft kits, aircraft engines, design parts and electronics for non-certified aviation, build, fly, inspect and maintain aircraft – as well as speaking in schools, at events and running training courses.  We both have aviation flowing through our veins and would encourage all young people to explore opportunities in aviation and aerospace…. textiles to nutrition, materials science to aerodynamics, engineer to pilot, air traffic management to airfield construction – aviation and aerospace has something for everyone – and it is full of interesting and exciting adventures along the way!

Aerostories #Engineering #Pilots #Operations

Freya Garrigan, a Year 13 A Level Student from St Richard Reynolds Catholic College, shares the story of her journey with...

Role model for leadership/ achieving transformational change Sarah is considered to be a trailblazer for women in STEM and an...

Up until I did work experience in Year 11 I was almost certain that I wanted to go into finance – this changed however after I...

Why I decided to do an Apprenticeship I have always been fascinated about aircraft since attending my first air show with my Dad...

View all stories