Helicopter pilot Lee lands his “dream job” at Multiflight
Perseverance and dedication should perhaps be Lee Davison’s middle names; the Multiflight helicopter pilot has had a long and somewhat windy path to landing his dream job with the Multiflight charter department.
Lee from Northallerton in North Yorkshire first started working towards his dream of being a helicopter pilot at the age of 21 and now, at 51, has got his first full-time piloting job – with Multiflight.
“I am grateful for a role that I could only dream about from my early twenties when I first started flying,” says Lee, who trained to fly in 1989 at Doncaster Aero Club as a Private Helicopter Pilot.
It wasn’t until 2007/8 that he studied to pass his exams for his Commercial Pilot’s Licence and approached Multiflight with the hope of getting some work as a pilot.
Lee, who was born in York, worked in a family building business as a plasterer until he trained to fly. After his flight training he worked as ground crew for two companies over a period of four years. This was to try and build hours to enable him to do his Commercial Licence. However, the second company he was employed by went bankrupt and he had to move back home to York in 1994 to find work.
“I started a part-time job with the North Yorkshire Ambulance Service in the Emergency Control Centre,” explains Lee.
“I thought this would just be for a short while to fill a gap until I could get flying again but things developed and I was offered training to become a paramedic in 1998. My 25-year ambulance career covered frontline ambulance work, working as a solo operator as a fast response car paramedic and 10 years on the Yorkshire Air Ambulance as a Clinical Supervisor/Aircrew Paramedic.”
The Ambulance Service invested heavily in Lee’s clinical education and helped him to achieve his BSc in Paramedic Science and Post Graduate Masters Diploma in Critical Care.
“In 2011 a secondment to the Department of Health in London for a 12-month period really gave me an insight into the driving forces behind the NHS and how it functions on a day-to-day basis 365 days per year.
“The latter part of my service career from 2015 to 2018 was at Northallerton Ambulance Station. This is also where I now live. I worked there on a critical care fast response car, where I would lead and support front line ambulance crews in the Yorkshire Dales through the care and treatment of patients involved in trauma or cardiac arrest.”
Between 1994 and 2007 Lee did very little flying until he had enough finances to fund his Commercial Licence exams and flight training.
“When I was working on the Air Ambulance as a clinician I was based at Leeds Bradford Airport. This is how I got to meet Mark Griffiths (Multiflight’s Chief Helicopter Pilot). I studied to pass my exams and flight test for my Commercial Licence in 2007/8 and then took my CV to show Mark in the hope of getting some pilot work.”
Lee started flying part-time for Multiflight in 2008. This continued on an ad-hoc basis until he joined the company on a permanent basis in August 2018.
“Mark has been inspirational for me in the last 10 years in helping me achieve my goal of becoming a professional pilot,” says Lee.
“I knew that the helicopter pilot role was limited if I didn’t have my Instrument Rating (IR) so with the support of Multiflight I started my IR training at Kemble Airfield in the Cotswolds with ‘Starspeed Training’ from October 2018 to completion in January 2019.
“I can safely say that it has been the hardest course I have ever done but very rewarding and a great achievement.”
Lee is full of praise for Multiflight, saying: “It is with great thanks to Mark and the charter team for believing in my ability to achieve this qualification and their continued support in my role as a Line Pilot for Multiflight.
“From my early contact with Multiflight to the present time I have always been impressed with the professionalism and attention to detail that the company delivers on a daily basis.
“I have been welcomed by all staff at Multiflight and I am grateful for the opportunity to finish my working career in a role that I could only dream about from my early twenties when I first started flying.”
Lee’s story is certainly inspirational for any budding pilot; it shows what can be done with the right will and determination.
“He saved my life”
On his way he has helped many people, not least 23-year-old Charlotte Leighton, who says Lee saved her life at the age of 10 when she was involved in a road accident and the paramedics (Lee was one of them) on board a Yorkshire Air Ambulance treated her at the scene.
The air ambulance flew Charlotte to hospital after the accident and doctors there were able to save her life and successfully treat her for severe facial injuries.
Lee and Charlotte have kept in touch over the years and when it was her prom at Easingwold School in 2011 Lee flew her and some of her friends to it by helicopter.
“It’s really nice that we have stayed in touch,” said Charlotte. “He saved my life.”
Charlotte and her family have raised a substantial sum for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance since the accident near her home in Tollerton in March 2006. Lee has been a part of this by participating in sponsored walks and many fundraising activities.
“They are a massive part of my life and we all, as a family, try to do as much as we can to raise money and also to raise awareness of the work the air ambulance does.
“Well done Lee; all the hard work and effort over the years has paid off. All the best for the future.”
Commenting on Lee’s new full-time role at Multiflight, Mark Griffiths said: “We are delighted to welcome Lee to the charter team as a full-time pilot. He has worked with Multiflight for a number of years now and it’s been a real privilege to see and support his dedication to becoming a full-time pilot.”
Pictures show Lee during his career: with the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, flying, with Multiflight’s VIP Airbus H155 helicopter, with Charlotte as a young girl, taking her and her friends to their school prom by helicopter and with David Arkell on completion of his IR training at Starspeed’s training facility at Kemble Airfield.
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