Meet the Team

Padpilot comprises of a small team of highly skilled professionals. Keeping it tight means that we can move fast to deliver a highly personalised service to our clients and stay ahead of the game. Our in-house team comprises editors, graphic artists and support and admin staff.

We have an extensive stable of retired and/or current captains and first officers who write with authority and with the benefit of years of operational experience. Our team spans almost the full range of professional expertise, from long-haul and short-haul operations through charter and regional airlines to business jet operations, military flying and light aircraft instruction.

Graham Cownie
Managing Director
Graham is an ex RAF fast-jet pilot and A-category flight instructor. After leaving the RAF and gaining his ATPL, he worked as an airline restructuring and pilot recruitment consultant for PARC. He founded Padpilot ten years ago because he believed firmly that the aviation training industry needed a fresher, more thorough, more up-to-date and more operationally focussed set of educational materials. He recruited a top-class team to achieve this aim. "I love our people" he says "and am immensely proud of what they've achieved and continue to achieve. They've made us who we are today."
Jill Cownie
Director and Customer Support
Jill is a former RAF admin officer specialising in accounting and people. She is one of Padpilot’s two directors. Jill is the primary point of contact for our partner ATOs and individual customers. In conjunction with Sammy, she runs the technical support help desk. As well as customer support, Jill manages the online learning management systems for client ATOs, develops progress tests and exams and provisions books to client ATOs and their students. Jill is also head of the QA team which is responsible for correcting minor book errors and beta testing new Padpilot software.
Cristina Messaggi
Business Development
Cristina loves nothing more than seeing training organisations take their ground school results to the next level with advanced teaching and learning resources that students enjoy using. With a background in software engineering and process improvement, she worked in the training materials development department of CAE Oxford for 9 years and joined Padpilot because of the innovative approach to training and education. Cristina is passionate about excellence in pilot training and is dedicated to providing tailored solutions and customer support to all our partners.
Matthew Collingwood
3D Artist
Matthew has a wealth of experience executing fully immersive 3D artwork. Stretching back over almost 30 years, Matthew’s experience in creating aviation related 3D models and 2D imagery is almost unparalleled in the industry. During the 17 years that Matthew has been with Padpilot and its sister companies, he has helped us to create an extraordinary catalogue of models, images and video animations. His stunning imagery features throughout Padpilot's books, within the Padpilot app, in Padpilot’s online AR/VR models and in Padpilot’s classroom presentations, helping to bring theoretical studies to life.

Sammy West
Customer Support
If you have a customer query or are in need of technical assistance, then you will likely be talking to Sammy sooner rather than later. Sammy handles customer relations, dealing with the day to day administration of student accounts and support queries from our partner ATOs. She also performs a range of other admin duties and helps Jill to administer the LMS. Sammy joined us after 5 years as cabin crew with one of Europe’s largest low-cost carriers. As a result, she’s super knowledgeable about the realities of commercial operations in Europe.

Kate Lucas
PR and Communications
Kate has been involved in pilot training since 2005 and is an experienced communications professional. She instinctively understands how to communicate our core messages to young pilots and has become an avid and committed evangelist for Padpilot's educational methods and ethos. As well as managing our social media feeds, Kate has written articles for numerous publications about Padpilot's educational philosophy.
She heads up our marketing and PR activities and is the person to speak to for all media enquiries or media collaborations.

Ian Young
Ian is a former B737 and A320 pilot, GA instructor, A320 TRI and MCC/JOC instructor. Outside of aviation he’s worked as a publisher and university lecturer in academic writing, is a qualified copyeditor and a member of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading. Ian’s enthusiasm for all things flying-related combined with his editorial experience will enable Padpilot to continue to lead the way in innovative aviation theory education. He leads our team of pilot authors and ATPL subject matter experts and is committed to creating beautiful, easy to understand books that give student pilots an immersive learning experience.

Professional Contributors

Subject Matter Expert
Now retired, Laurie was a captain on the A380 and B777, working for a major British airline. His vast experience of commercial operations on long-haul jets, spanning decades, has been put to great use across many of our books.

Subject Matter Expert
David is a highly experienced first officer on short-haul operations, mostly on the B737 and A320. Recently he moved to the Airbus A380. His extensive insights into short-haul ops and his knowledge gained during his recent conversion to long-haul is embedded in our Instruments, Flight Planning, Communications and Operational Procedures books.
Subject Matter Expert
A former 757 captain with a major UK charter airline, Andy’s knowledge and insights helped us to create material for Advanced Instruments and Operational Procedures.

Subject Matter Expert
Steve is a current captain on executive jets based in the UK and also a hugely experienced theoretical knowledge instructor. With extensive background of flying sophisticated jets into remote, unsupported locations across the globe, Steve was the ideal person to co-write our Meteorology book.
Subject Matter Expert
A former RAF officer and one of the first female RAF pilots, Jacqui has an extensive background in aircraft operations. A gifted academic, with more than 30 years teaching experience, Jacqui co-wrote Aeroplane Performance and Mass and Balance and contributed to many other Padpilot volumes.

Subject Matter Expert
An ATPL holder, Tony has extensive experience of teaching ATPL theory. He is one of the most widely respected TK instructors in the UK. Tony co-wrote our General Navigation and Radio Navigation books.

Graham was an A-category military flight instructor specialising in ab-initio training. In that role he commanded 3 RAF training squadrons. Also, as part of a 3-person course design team, he co-created the entire flying training syllabus for the RAF’s Tucano basic flight trainer. He personally wrote the accompanying student study guide which has been used to train every RAF pilot for the last 30 years. He also wrote training manuals for various other jet and piston aircraft. After 1500 hrs flight instruction he then wrote the flight instructor training manual for a well-known ATO. As an ATPL-holder he edits and contributes to all volumes, but also wrote Air Law, AGK and, as a graduate psychologist, Human Performance and Limitations.
Subject Matter Expert
Bill is a former B373 captain in a large UK airline. Before that, he flew turboprops for a regional UK operation. After retiring from flying he joined us for several years. As well as creating a complete type rating course for the RJ 100, Bill also co-wrote our ATPL General Navigation, Radio Navigation and AGK: Electrics books. With a strong background in physics, Bill was a key contributor to our STEM-A book. After leaving us, Bill became a highly respected B737 simulator instructor, eventually rising to head of training. A gifted and inspiring TK instructor, he recently set up a new UK ground school, along with Tony. He now divides his time between teaching and simulator instruction.