Starting off his flying career whilst a teenager in 1985 on fixed wing aircraft, Mark completed his education as an engineer before joining the Royal Navy as a Pilot. He moved on to helicopters in 1996 and served on the front line with 815 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) for over a decade.
Embarked as part of a Ship’s Flight on many occasions during this period in several of Her Majesties Ship’s, he has flown from a Flight Deck, by day, by night, in the coldest, hottest and most remote places all over the globe amassing 2858 deck landings in over 4000 Lynx Helicopter hours.
Highlights have included, serving as the Flight Commander on the Ice Patrol Ship HMS ENDURANCE in the Antarctic and an exchange tour with the Royal Danish Navy Helicopter Service in the Arctic. More recently, following another tour with 815 NAS as Squadron Instructor, he has returned to Fixed Wing flying.
Currently based at RNAS Culdrose with 736 NAS he has just completed a Rotary to Fast Jet conversion course on the Hawk T1 and is looking forward to flying at RAF Valley on the ‘Island of Dreams’ later this year. Outside all this he can generally be found on an aerodrome flying with whoever is about and as a part owner of a Yak 52, and always enjoys flying in formation and turning an aircraft upside down for fun.
Always looking for a new challenge and with over 5500 total flying hours (and hopefully more to follow), Mark also known as ‘Big Vern or BV’ also flies the Swordfish with the Royal Navy Historic Flight (RNHF), as well as the Zlins for The Czech Mates Display Team, along with other types operated by the team at Dunkeswell.