About Us

Airways Airsports is run by pilots who are committed to sharing their love of flying with anyone wanting to learn to paraglide, hang glide, paramotor or microlight. Our instructors range from a three-times World Champion, World Record holders, British Cross Country Champion, British Distance Record Holder, Royal Aeroclub Gold Medal winner and former members of the British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Teams.

As Seen On TV!

Airways Airsports has been featured many times on television.  We were chosen to teach Blue Peter presenter, Matt Baker, to fly. We flew with him on his successful Tandem World Record breaking hang gliding flight.

World Record flight with Blue Peter presenter, Matt Baker, and Airways Airsports instructor, Judy LedenWe also taught a second Blue Peter presenter, Joel Delfries, to fly in Spring 2010.  Some of the other many Feature Film and TV appearances are listed below

Your Instructors:

 

Chris Dawes Ph.D – Chief Flying Instructor, microlighting. teaching paragliding, , hang gliding, paramotoring & powered hang gliding; microlight tug pilot.

 

 

  • British Cross Country Champion
  • World Record Holder
  • British Paragliding Team member for many years
  • Display pilot

 

TV films:

Blue Peter (5 times  - taught presenter, Matt Baker, to hang glide)
Don’t Try This at Home (3 times) - click here for Youtube link
24 Hour Party People - click here for Youtube link
BBC 1 – Natural World – “Flying with Condors”, The Weather Programme
BBC 2 – Great journeys, Top Wild Dives with Tanya Streeter. Click here for Youtube link
2010 - Blue Peter (3 programmes) with Joel Delfries
2011 - The Gadget Show
2012 - The Great British Summer
BBC 1 - The Weather Show
2012 - BBC;  How The Earth Made Us.  Click here for Youtube link (from minute 08.39)

Chris Dawes has been flying for 28 years and flies anything and everything, from paragliders to twin engine planes, holding a Commercial and Instrument EASA licence and conducting Single Pilot Air Taxi operations. His duties are wide-ranging from training and examining microlight and paragliding students, to display flying. Having flown on the British Paragliding Team for many years including conducting British Team Training Camps, he also won the British Cross Country Championships (1995). Chris also leads courses in cross country flying and competition paragliding in the Alps. He is a great believer in teaching the right way from the start, so that when under pressure, a pilot produced by Airways Airsports will revert to their basic training to give them the instinctive, correct, safe response.

Chris has been active in promoting safety within the sports of hang gliding and paragliding – he has been instrumental in producing both the teaching syllabus and new techniques adopted by the BHPA.

 

Judy Leden MBE - Senior Instructor, teaching hang gliding, paragliding, aerotowing, microlight tug flying.

  • World Women’s Hang Gliding Champion (twice)
  • World Women’s Paragliding Champion
  • European and six times British Women's Hang Gliding Champion
  • British Hang Gliding Team Member 
  • British Paragliding Team  Member
  • British Team Captain
  • Multiple World Record Holder
  • World Record for absolute altitude (hang gliding) at 41,307 feet
  • Display Pilot

TV appearances:

Blue Peter 2010 - flying tandem with Joel Delfries (3 programnmes)
Blue Peter (broke World Altitude Towing Record, flying tandem with presenter, Matt Baker)
ITV - Don’t Try This At Home (3 times) -  Click here for Youtube link
24 Hour Party People - stunt doubling for Steve Coogan - Click here for Youtube link
Natural World (BBC 1) Flying with Condors
Channel 4 – Stratosfear (50 minute documentary on World Altitude Record)
Channel 4 – “Cotopaxi Dream” 
BBC1 – Flight of the Dacron Eagles
BBC 1 – The Weather Programme
BBC 1 - The Gadget Show (flying tandem with John Bentley)
BBC 1 - The Weather Show (Flying tandem with Carol Kirkwood)
Channel Crossing by hang glider (ITN News) - Click here for Youtube link
Test pilot for AV Roe triplane replica - Click here for Youtube link
Commercial - Raymond James Investments - Click here for Youtube link

Judy has been involved in Airways Airsports since the start.  She has been Women's World Hang Gliding Champion twice and has a string of world records to her name. Well known for her enthusiasm and love of flying, she is one of the best instructors in the UK.  Judy also flies paragliders (World Champion 1995, 2 World Records) and microlights as well as light aircraft. She runs courses in the Alps for paragliding and hang gliding, teaching hill conversions, cross country flying and competition flying.  She was awarded her MBE by the Queen for services to hang gliding, and received the Royal Aeroclub's Gold Medal.

 

Andy Snell - Chief Flying Instructor, teaching paragliding, paramotoring, hang gliding & powered hang gliding.  Tandem paraglider & tandem hang glider pilot & microlight tug pilot.

TV Appearance: BBC Country Tracks - Spring 2010

Andy flew sailplanes before he turned to hang gliding, then paragliding and microlighting. He runs the paragliding and hang gliding training at Airways Airsports.  His laid-back style and great sense of humour inspires confidence in his students.  Andy believes in encouraging pilots to think for themselves, and guides them through their initial low flights right through to teaching them how to soar and thermal.
 

 

 

Mark Hilton - Chief Flying Instructor for flexwing and fixed wing microlights and microlight tug pilot

Mark joined Airways in 2012.  He started flying at 19, moving on to microlights in 2009. He only called us to book in for a paragliding course, then somehow found himself joining us as a microlight instructor and has never left!  He is an easy-going and cheerful teacher, patient as a saint but beware - he is a mad drummer in his spare time, and performs in a Queen tribute band, playing at all ends of the country. He rock climbs and scuba dives - a man of many talents.

 

 

 

 

Shelley Smith - Microlight Instructor teaching flexwing and fixed wing flying, paragliding and tandem paragliding pilot. Microlight Examiner, engineer.

Shelley is a great instructor - a gifted pilot of microlights as well as an international competitor in paragliding who is patient and thorough, with a deep knowledge and love of flying.  This innate feeling for aircraft probably stems from having been literally brought up among microlights.   As she was growing up, her parents ran the largest microlight school in the country, while Shelley's second home became the hangars of Popham Airfield.  Shelley is rarely seen without her Jack Russell, "Amos" in tow.  Amos doesn't understand Shelley's need to keep leaving the planet, so if you see a small brown and white dog howling at the skies, you can bet that Shelley is airborne once more. 

 

Richard Shaw - Paramotor and paragliding Instructor 

Richard has been flying paramotors and paragliders since 2002. He took on the role of organising the British paramotor competitions from 2007-2015 also acting as Chief marshal, competition director, task director and then British team leader 2012 - 2014.

He has also acted as an International paramotor competition juror, and organised the  Paramotor/Microlight World Championships 2016. He is now on the BHPA executive committee.

Goal - to learn more types of flying.

TV -

  • BBC 2010 Offas Dyke flight.
  • BBC 2016 Top Gear with ex Airways instructor Ric Womersley.

 

David Chambers - Winch operator and paragliding instructor

David Chambers trained with Airways 2013.  He faced more of a challenge than most as he is an above knee amputee.  Dave's skill in handling paragliders on the ground is excellent - even extending to launching a wing while lying on the ground when he isn't wearing his prosthetic leg!  He has flown a number of sites abroad including Laragne, Tenerife, Lanzarote and Turkey and  numerous sites around the United Kingdom.  

Dave moved down to Airways Airsports and opened up a Bed & Breakfast nextdoor so he could be closer to the flying sites and the airfield. He is now an integral part of the Airways crew,, as a skilful winch operator and recently signed up as a training instructor.

 

Barry Bredin - paragliding instructor Barry Bredin

Barry came to Airways for a tow conversion course and fell in love with the place and people.  Soon after learning to fly 5 years ago, he travelled to India and flew Western Ghats.  His passion for flying matches his love of travel, and has clocked up a lot of flying expeditions over the past few years, to the French Alps, Chamonix, Lake Annecy, Switzerland, Morocco, Macedonia, and countless times in Turkey with 4 SIV courses.

 

Colinda Chambers

 

Colinda isn't a flying instructor but she is part of the backbone of the Airways team, keeping us all going and turning her hand to anything.  Always cheerful, and multi-talented, we would be lost without her!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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