John started hang gliding in the early 1980, opening his own Southdown School of Hang Gliding at Firle in 2003. Southdown is now one of the few schools in the country where hang gliding can be taken up. In so doing he has brought on several keen trainee instructors who have become invaluable to the sport.
John’s calm, unflappable manner has helped many hang-gliding students to engage with this difficult art. His invention of sliding tethers enabled even the most inept of students to have a taste of hang gliding in relative safety. Behind the laidback manner is a steely resolve; he often takes a stand in contradiction to established protocols and frequently turns out to be right. There are many pilots now achieving great things in the flying world who owe their success in part to John’s firm but enlightened teaching and his ‘safety first’ mantra.