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Hunter Flying attracts aerobatic display teams to St Athan

St Athan is set to become a key training centre for aerobatic display teams from around the UK – thanks to Hunter Flying Ltd.
Monday 14 May 2012

The company oversees the maintenance and operation of the largest private collection of classic aircraft of its kind in the world – many of which are used by display teams at air shows.

Hunter Flying relocated its entire operation to South Wales this year as a planned expansion at Exeter Airport – its former base - meant it had to find new premises.

It was the first private business to move into St Athan Aerospace Business Park and the newly designated Aviation Enterprise Zone where it has leased two hangars from the Welsh Government.

On a visit to their new premises today Business Minister Edwina Hart heard Hunter Flying is now the base for the newly formed Red Star Rebels team who will be flying four Russian L29 Delfin aircraft maintained by Hunter.

Chief Engineer John Sparks, who runs the company with his wife Nadine, said the air show season starts at the end of June and aerobatic training is now getting under way at their base.

"The Russian jets which date back to the 1970s are a new addition and we’re delighted the new Red Star Rebels team who will be flying at shows all over Europe has chosen St Athan as their base."

Mrs Hart welcomed the news that Hunter Flying has already created eleven jobs - taking on ten engineers who were made redundant from the Defence Service Group (DSG).

"I am delighted to hear that Hunter Flying has been able to recruit former DSG engineers which means that these skills will remain in Wales in support of a dynamic and expanding aerospace sector.

"It’s also good to hear that Hunter Flying has a number of projects in the pipeline that will create additional jobs and that the Aerospace Business Park and Aviation Enterprise Zone is really taking off with a number of diverse operations investing here."

Hunter Flying has plans to expand its operation to include maintenance of private light aircraft which will create another five engineering jobs and hope to get CAA approval to start later this year.

Mr Sparks said they were now fully operational and gearing up for aerobatic training.

"It’s the start of a busy time for us - we certainly moved at the right time and are delighted to have been able to recruit a team of highly skilled engineers – it has been fantastic.  We have moved eighteen of our aircraft to St Athan with just another two to bring down.

"We have a number of projects in the pipeline that we hope to announce later this year and also hope to offer our services to Cardiff Aviation – Bruce Dickinson’s new venture and pleased to see such an interest in the Aerospace Park and Enterprise Zone which may present new business opportunities as more companies move here."

He added there had been considerable interest from aviation enthusiasts in their new operation at St Athan and a large group of volunteers has already been formed to support their activities.

 

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