Meet the crew

Mark Manwaring

Chairman & Officer in Charge

Group Captain Mark Manwaring

Fast-jet navigator Mark joined the RAF in 1984, aged just 18, following five years at 338 (West Ham) Squadron Air Training Corps. After completing training, Mark completed flying tours on the Phantom and then Tornado in the air defence role. He later went on to command 55 Squadron and has now amassed over 3,500 flying hours.

When not flying or conducting his day job (Mark is still serving) he is busy building his own aircraft. Mark has set himself the challenge of breaking the solo world speed record of the circumnavigation of the earth in the RAF Flight of the Navigator project. If building his own highly modified Vans RV7 isn’t enough, he is also trying to raise vital funds for the RAF Benevolent Fund and ‘inspire the next generation’ through STEM events.

For more information on the project, go to:

You can also watch Marks VLOGs on his YouTube channel: Flight Of The Navigator

Interesting fact – Mark is the Military Commentator for Europe’s biggest airshow, the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford.

Buster Jeffrey

Chief Flying Instructor

Chief Flying Instructor Buster has been a member at Halton since passing he’s PPL in 1997. After a successful career in the motor trade – which included running his own business, Buster started Commercial Pilot training in 2002. Upon completion of he’s CPL, Buster became First Officer for London Executive Aviation, flying Citation 560 XL.
Buster has been CFI at HAC since 2007, with his vast experience and wealth of knowledge he is a real asset to the club.

Not only is Buster a CAA Flight Examiner he also teaches IMC, so if you want to take your flying to the next level, book him for a flight.

Interesting fact – Buster once flew Prince Andrew to Tripoli, Libya (Prince Andrew is still waiting for him to bring him back!)

Steve Thorogood

Deputy Chief Flying Instructor

Steve’s love of flying led to him gaining his PPL at Biggin Hill back in 1971 when he was only 17 years old! Steve joined HAC as a part-time instructor in 1993 and is either found instructing on every aircraft on the fleet or flying his own aircraft out of Lee-on-Solent or Denham. After a successful career as an Air Traffic Controller, Steve retired in 2009. It’s no surprise then that Steve runs our PPL radio ground school and he plays a vital role as a radio licence examiner.

Interesting fact – Whilst in air traffic, Steve, would regularly line up Concordes with 747s for a race (no surprise who won).

Deacon Brown

Full Time Instructor

Newest Member to the HAC Team.

I was three years old when I knew I wanted to be a pilot.

In 2006 I joined the Air Cadets, and completed my first solo flight at RAF Halton in 2009, so it holds a special place in my heart. I continued working towards my PPL which I completed at Wycombe Air Park. Shortly after I started studying for the ATPL exams – distance learning, whilst working to fund the course.

After successfully passing the exams I continued with my flight training completing my Commercial and Flight Instructor courses at Denham. My other interests are photography, the outdoors and participating in sport including football, tennis, squash and bouldering.

Interesting facts about me I flew an aircraft solo before I could drive a car and my favourite aircraft is The Vulcan.

James Pearce

Adnan Ahsan

Part time Instructor

My ambition to become a Commercial Pilot began, I guess, when I first went on a jet aged just six. I completed my PPL at Denham aged 18. After finishing my A levels, I started a degree course in Air Transport Management that combined flight training at Wycombe Air Park.

After completing my degree I gained a frozen ATPL in 2012. It wasn’t until I gained my Flight Instructor rating in 2013 that I started instructing at RAF Halton. I now instruct part time due to my full-time job as Operations Officer and Flight Planner at EasyJet.

My interests outside of aviation include Cricket and Martial Arts.

Interesting fact: I recently gave flying lessons to Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe at RAF Halton.

Jon Kumela

Operations Manager

Jon’s father was a Polish Battle of Britain pilot so it’s no surprise where Jons love of flying comes from. After leaving school, JK qualified as a fibreglass laminator building speedboats whilst he waited to be accepted into the RAF as a jet propulsion mechanic. After 35 successful years, making it to the rank of Chief Engineer, Jon left the RAF.
Whilst serving and in his spare time, Jon qualified as a teacher, archaeologist and flying instructor! His claim to fame during 14 seasons digging in Cyprus for the RAF Archaeologist Unit (yes that does exist!) was to discover the only polychrome pebble mosaic ever unearthed there from the Archaic period.
Formerly the Airfield Manager at RAF Halton and a short spell as the Barrack Warden he now occupies the Operations Manager chair and acts as the club Honourable Secretary.
A little known fact is that Jon plays guitar in a rock band! In the words of Keith Richards: ‘Rock and Roll, music for the neck downwards’.

Carl Jenkins & Sammy Nassiri

Flight Safety Team

Carlos has been the HAC Flight Safety Rep for a year or so.

Currently undergoing multi-engine pilot training in the Royal Air Force, Carlos started motor gliding at the age of 16 and ended up as a B1 instructor on the former 613 VGS at RAF Halton. He achieved his private pilot’s licence at the age of 17 through the RAF Gliding and Soaring Association. It seemed rude not to qualify with all of the clubs at Halton, so last summer he added a microlight rating to his licence as well.

Carlos has recently ventured into aircraft ownership and is the proud custodian of a Jodel120 Paris-Nice, although as can be expected with vintage aircraft there are always challenges with keeping them in the air.

Interesting fact: Co-presents a radio show called ‘Talking Tweed’.


Sammy has recently become the HAC Deputy Flight Safety Rep.

Sammy is a Commissioned Officer in the Royal Artillery and will specialise in operating the Watchkeeper. Carlos and Sammy first worked together on Yorkshire UAS, where Sammy achieved his Preliminary Flying Badge on the Tutor T1 and represented the Sqn in flying competitions.

As a co-owner of the Jodel 120 with Carlos, Sammy is planning flying adventures to all corners of the UK.

Interesting fact: Co-presents a radio show called ‘Talking Tweed’.

Mike Russell

Membership Secretary

Wing Commander Mike Russell OBE MBA RAF Retired

A former RAF Navigator and aircraft Captain from 1966 to 1996 flying Shackeleton Mk3 and Nimrod MR1 Anti-Submarine Warfare aircraft amassing some 3000 hours in the air. Has the dubious honour of being the 1stNavigator in a Nimrod glider after engine failure in 1972.

Mike gained his PPL at HAC in 2013 and flies the PA28 and the C152 and now has over 200 hours with the Club. He has been Membership Sec since 2014 and stood in as Ops Mgr for 3 months in Summer 2018.

Paul Brissenden Hemstock

Head of IT

Paul joined HAC in 2005 as a student having always wanted to learn to fly. Soon after gaining his PPL, Paul started getting involved with club expeditions and has not missed a year since. Visiting as far North as the Orkneys and Norway, South to the Alps and Italy, East to Peenemunde and West to Ireland.
These are great learning opportunities for a relatively inexperienced pilot to fly with many others including professional pilots and air traffickers, where much experience is gained. Paul progressed his skills gaining an IMC in 2009, and at just over 400 hours is still looking for opportunities to learn something new.
As a professional in the electronics and software engineering industry, Paul is a valuable asset at the club. Sorting out various issues, including computers, networks and reworking both the weather station and booking system applications. These ‘part-time’ projects sometimes feel like full-time roles! But this kind of thing is all part of our club team culture at Halton Aero Club.
One of Paul’s flying highlights was having the opportunity to fly into the Royal International Air Tattoo, especially being downwind when the Red Arrows passed by during a run and break!

Nick Pin

Publicity Member

Nick has been a member at HAC since 2014, gaining his PPL on the Tecnam in 2017. Nick’s love of flying started after an air experience flight in a Chipmunk, during his time as an air cadet in 1984. In a short space of time, Nick has been on five club expeditions – Peenemunde in Germany, Elba, around the UK and the Swiss Alps. He rates flying through the fjords in Norway in 2018 as an aviation highlight.

Nick works in the media industry and is often seen on the airfield with a camera in hand. If you have a club story that you would like featured on this website, please let Nick know.

Interesting fact – Nick participated in the sailing event at the Athens Olympics in 2004.




Address: The Operations Manager,
Halton Aero Club Ltd,
Bldg 287 Aviation Avenue,
RAF Halton. HP22 5PG

01296 622697 / 01296 656178


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