Meet the team

We’re a passionate and committed crew, unified by our mission to create the best educational materials for trainee pilots.

Our in-house team comprises authors, editors, graphic artists and support staff, dedicated to helping pilot training organisations take their ground school to the next level.

We also have a wider team of commercial pilots contributing their considerable expertise and operational know-how to our materials. Those pilots bring a range of aviation experience to our theory content: long and short-haul ops; charter, regional and flag carrier airlines; corporate jets, military, helicopters and light aircraft instruction.

We’re proud of the length of our client relationships, which reflects our high levels of support, proactivity, commitment, and the energy and enthusiasm of our people. We’re pleased to introduce some of them here.

Graham Cownie

Managing Director

Graham is a former RAF fast-jet pilot and A-category flight instructor. After gaining his ATPL, he worked as an airline restructuring and pilot recruitment consultant and then in pilot training. Realising theoretical knowledge courseware needed a fresh approach, he founded Padpilot in 2011 to create modern, advanced, operationally-focussed educational materials and recruited a top-class team to achieve it.

Jill Cownie

Director of Support

Jill is a founding director and oversees Padpilot’s client services, ensuring the consistent application of our quality standards and processes. She’s a former RAF Admin Officer, specialising in accounting and HR. For many of our long-standing partners, she’s the face of Padpilot and led our Support and Quality Assurance teams for many years.

Cristina Messaggi 

Director of Sales & Business Development

Cristina loves to see training organisations take their ground school results to the next level with advanced resources students enjoy using. With a background in software engineering and process improvement, she worked in the training materials department of CAE Oxford for 9 years before joining Padpilot. She’s passionate about excellence in training and dedicated to providing tailored solutions and customer support to our partners.

Katharine Westwood

Director of Operations

Katharine is an experienced manager and customer service professional and heads up Operations at Padpilot. She leads the Support Team, taking care of partner ATOs and students, and the Quality Assurance team, publishing book updates from the editorial contributors. She also manages our learning management systems and coordinates new product development. In her spare time, she’s working towards a PPL.

Kat Lines

Office Administrator

Kat is an aviation enthusiast who works alongside Katharine in the Support Team. She takes care of the purchase and distribution of our materials as well as providing technical support to partner schools and students. As a child, she aspired to be an airline pilot, but decided on a career on the ground instead, and is passionate about great customer care.

Content Contributors

Graham Cownie

Editor in Chief

Padpilot MD, Graham, was a military flight instructor and commanded 3 RAF training squadrons. He co-created the training syllabus for the RAF’s Tucano basic flight trainer and wrote the accompanying student study guide used to train RAF pilots for the past 30 years and several other aircraft training manuals. Graham edits and contributes to all volumes, but also wrote Air Law, AGK and, as a graduate psychologist, HPL.

Bill Chivers

Subject Matter Expert

Bill is a former BA B737 captain and also flew turboprops for a regional operation. After retiring from flying he joined Padpilot and co-wrote our ATPL General Navigation, Radio Navigation and AGK:Electrics books and contributed to STEM-A. He’s now an ATO Head of Training. 

Tony Pike

Subject Matter Expert

Tony is an experienced flight and ground instructor with extensive experience of teaching ATPL theory. He is now one of the most widely respected and well known TK instructors in the UK. He co-wrote the ATPL General Navigation and Radio Navigation books and has contributed to many others.

Jacqui Suren

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 and TK instructor with more than 30 years experience, Jacqui co-wrote Aeroplane Performance and Mass & Balance and contributed to many other Padpilot volumes.

Steve Francis

Subject Matter Expert

Steve is a corporate jet captain and an experienced TK instructor. With extensive background of flying sophisticated jets into remote, unsupported locations across the globe, Steve was the ideal person to co-write the ATPL Meteorology book.

Andy Hawkins

Subject Matter Expert

Andy is a former MCCi, flight instructor, TK instructor and flew the ATR and CRJ before becoming a B737 captain with a UK based airline. Andy’s knowledge and insights helped us to create material for ATPL(A) Advanced Instruments and Operational Procedures.

David Lucas

Subject Matter Expert

David is a former flight instructor and TK instructor and now flies the A380 with British Airways. Previously type-rated on the A320, B737, ATR, Metroliner and Phenom, his extensive experience in cargo, corporate and scheduled operations are embedded in many of our ATPL books.

The Design Team


Our design team is led by Senior Graphic Artist Matthew Collingwood, who’s been with Padpilot and its sister companies for almost 20 years. His experience in creating aviation-related 3D models and 2D imagery is almost unparalleled in the industry, and he’s helped create an extraordinary catalogue of 3D models, images and video animations. Matthew and our talented team of in-house graphic designers ensure Padpilot materials are both beautiful and informative, bringing a new perspective to theoretical studies.