Jim Busby

Operations Director

Jim has been in and around Cranfield Flying School for a number or years advising and helping the school to modernise. He worked for most of his career in large corporations but always had a love of flying having learned to fly in the University Air Squadron in his late teens. Jim has a PPL with an Instrument rating and loves to fly on long trips around Europe. He has purchased and owned a number of different aircraft in his time and presently owns a half share in a Cessna 210 so once you have obtained your licence he can advise you on the ins and outs of owning your own aircraft.

Jim is also a director of the European Instrument rated pilots (PPLIR/E) organisation looking mainly after events managment and can advise more advanced pilots on all aspects of touring around Europe and the latest advances in Weather Management and GPS/RNAV usage.


Donald Putnam

Head of Training

Donald is our Head of Training and Chief Flying Instructor. Donald has been instructing for 10 years and is qualified to teach all flying disciplines from basic PPL and Multi-Engine through to Commercial flying, FIC courses, Instrument Flying and Aerobatics.

Donald is a passionate flyer and has been flying since he was 13 and lives to pass on his passion to everyone else. He has prodigious knowledge both about the practice of flying in the real world and all the theoretical background to it all in order to help both students and qualified pilots through the technical exams needed to obtain or revalidate the different licences.



Graham McFarland

Senior Instructor

Graham has been teaching people to fly for more years than he cares to remember. He has taught at Cranfield and a number of other flying schools in the area and we are very pleased and honoured that he has chosen to come and instruct with us.


John Stevens


John has been flying for over 20 years and has been an instructor for 8 years with over 1000 hours of instruction under his belt. He comes from a family of pilots (some now retired!) so flying is in his blood. He has flown a number of different types of light aircraft as well as turbo props and jets. Apart from flying he is a keen road cyclist and is working his way throught his guitar grades. He is now again one of our core team of instructors.


Sylwester Nowak, Flying Instructor

Sylwester hails from Kielce in Poland and has lived in the UK for 11 years. Sylwester started learning to fly gliders when in Poland and accumulated 100 hours prior to learning to fly powered aircraft when he came to the UK in 2007. He funded all of this learning by earning a living as a truck driver.  He loved flying so much that he decided that he would like to teach flying and has now acquired more than 500 hours flying and has been instructing for 2 years. Sylwester speaks five languages, including French and Italian, and is now a central member of our school.


Captain Piers Smerdon - Senior Flying Instructor and Examiner

Piers is a legend in the industry and we are proud to include him in our roster of instructors. Piers can teach and examine all aspects of the flying curriculum and has taught pilots from all over the world. He has recently been awarded the prestigious Pike Trophy for excellence in flying training.

Piers is an examiner for PPL, CPL, IR, FI, IRI Multi-Engine, PBN, Radio Telephony,


Simon Blaxsell

Simons instructs with our school on a part time basis as he has a career within the financial services industry where he worked for a large investment company. These days he runs his own Independent financial adviser practise with three offices in the south of England.

He obtained his PPL at Cranfield in 1984.

He trained at Cranfield Flying School to obtain an EASA CPL FI IRR. He has been instructing for 16 years.

He can teach  PPL, LAPL, NIGHT, IRR and can carry out yearly check flights and sign SEP revalidations. Simon is also a ground examiner who enjoys ground school and is quite willing to help students with their studies on a structured course.

Headshot in hanger crop.jpg

Chula Rupasinha, Flying Instructor

Chula is a retired senior police officer and is now a dispute resolution specialist. When he is not working, he loves teaching people to fly and is qualified to instruct for the EASA Light Aircraft Pilot’s Licence (LAPL), Sailplane Pilot’s Licence (SPL), National Private Pilot's Licence (NPPL), and can conduct PPL check rides. He is a CAA Radio Telephony examiner.


Parvez Anwar

Parvez has just joined us as an instructor. He is a familiar face around the school as he completed his ATPL and his Instructor rating at the school. He is a very experienced pilot having flown and accumulated many hours in the Pakistani Military and can tell you stories about his experiences flying MIG jets. He loves flying and passing on this love to all his students.


Steve Short

Steve is a part time instructor with Cranfield when he’s not working for London Underground as a Line Service Control Manager. Steve is originally from Edinburgh and has very fond memories of watching concords maiden voyage over Scotland.

Steve’s passion for flying started when he was serving in the British Military and undertook Army initial flight training on fixed and rotor wing aircraft whilst serving.

After retirement, Steve continued to develop his passion for flying by successfully passing commercial, multi engine, instrument ratings and flight instructors courses.

Steve is qualified to teach students in LAPL and PPL. Steve can also assist students with their Theory Exams and any ground school preparations or practice sessions.


Greta Laimaite, Operations Officer

Greta has recently joined us and is originally from Lithuania but has lived and worked in the UK for over 10 years. She has a degree in International Business Management and has worked in a number of administration roles prior to applying to join CFS and the world of aviation. This interest was sparked by being thrilled by a recent flight in a light aircraft. Greta is keen to make her mark on aviation and become a pilot herself and we are sure she will be a great asset to the school.