The CHIRP Aviation Programme team is comprised of a small Aviation Secretariat of specialists with professional and technical expertise in aviation operations and Human Factors.
In order to promote the resolution of issues raised, the programme is also able to draw on the assistance and counsel of a wide range of individual experts and specialist bodies from across the spectrum of aviation through the Advisory Boards. The Advisory Boards’ independent advice is provided primarily on the Human Factors aspects of reports, involving such topics as errors or mistakes, fatigue, poor ergonomics, management pressures, deficiencies in communication or team performance.
Steve Forward MSc FRAeS FCMI
Steve is an ex-RAF fast-jet pilot who joined the RAF in September 1981 after graduating with a BSc(Hons) in Electrical & Electronic Engineering from Leeds University. He flew over 3500hrs in the RAF as a front-line pilot and Qualified Weapons Instructor (mostly in Harrier and Tornado aircraft), commanded the RAF’s ground-attack operational evaluation squadron, spent many years involved in campaign planning, command and control, and finally retired from the RAF as an Air Commodore in 2013, with his final role being to conduct a study that resulted in the establishment of the RAF’s Safety Centre.
As a civilian, Steve then moved into the Aviation Safety environment as Director of the UK Airprox Board (UKAB) where he led a jointly sponsored and co-funded Civil Aviation Authority/Military Aviation Authority team charged with assessing and reporting on near-mid-air collisions in the UK in order to help prevent future incidents and accidents. Steve became a member of the CHIRP GA and AT boards in 2013 on taking up the UKAB role and, on retiring from the UKAB, joined CHIRP as Director Aviation in April 2020. In his spare time, Steve has been a budding glider pilot in the recent past, and graduated with an MSc in Aviation Safety Management from City University, London in January 2019.Steve joined CHIRP as Director (Aviation) in April 2020.
Cabin Crew Programme Manager
Jennifer began her career as cabin crew in 2004 at London Heathrow and has operated on a variety of short-haul and long-haul aircraft including B767, B757, A330 and A321/20/19.
Progressing to SCCM in 2007 she later took a secondment to the Safety Training Department and within that department held numerous roles including Safety Trainer, Quality Auditor and NVQ Assessor.
Over the last 16 years Jennifer has trained crew and/or operated with a number of airlines including bmi, Astreaus, Arkefly, Air Astana, Turkish Airlines, The RAF, ATrS and British Airways.
Jennifer joined CHIRP in 2020 to cover the role of Cabin Crew Programme Manager whilst Stephanie Dykes was on maternity leave and took over the role permanently in August 2021.
Engineering Programme Manager
Phil retired in December 2019 after 49 years in aircraft engineering. He started as an apprentice in manufacturing (Concorde, Brooklands). Worked at Heathrow twice, for a total of 27 years, firstly on corporate jets (Hawker Siddeley HS125) next, RB-211 engine overhaul, and with two international airlines, holding Certificate of Release to Service (CRS) for the B737 Classic under a UK CAA Section L converting to a European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Licence.
During the second stint at Heathrow, He held CRS on the B777 and B747-Classic, under a foreign licence. For a season, Phil was on the Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) committee, for de-icing best practice. Phil worked at Farnborough, (HS-125 again), Then contracting in Kuala Lumpur, Subang, B737 Majors. Next contracting in Frankfurt, on Boeing and Airbus narrow and wide body casualty. He had three periods with a Maintenance Repair Organisation (MRO) at Lasham Hants, contracting then later Inspecting B737 Majors, which included short secondment to Southend and lastly as Quality Engineer, with a short secondment to RAF St Athan.
Finally, Phil changed to another MRO back at Farnborough, as a Quality Engineer again with Corporate jets; Hawker, Dassault & Bombardier, carrying out auditing at home and overseas, liaising with a great many Surveyors/National Aviation Authority (NAA) Inspectors of various nationalities, presenting Part 145 training, compiling and conducting examinations (both written and oral), authorisation issue and also Maintenance Error Decision Aid (MEDA) investigations, to mention but a handful of duties.
Phil joined CHIRP as the Engineering Programme Manager in October 2020. He will he responding to all engineering and ground handling & security reports.
Drone Programme Manager
Rupert obtained his PPL in 1976. He is currently a qualified UAS pilot and Managing Director of Bridgeway Aerial Ltd., a UAS Operator that he co-founded in 2010. From 2003 to January 2017 he was the Managing Director and Accountable Manager of AirMed, an Oxford airport based fixed wing air ambulance operator. AirMed had a worldwide AOC, a Part M approval and an EASA 145 maintenance facility for its fleet of Learjet 35A and Piper Cheyenne turboprop aircraft. AirMed also had a TRTO for its turboprop aircraft.
Rupert is a Director of ARPAS UK, the professional UAS Operators non-profit trade association and sits on the CAA chaired NATMAC, FAC and the UAS stakeholders Committees, on behalf of ARPAS members.
Prior to 2003 Rupert spent 15 years in the Investment Banking business based in London and Paris. The majority of this period was spent with Swiss Bank Corporation prior to its merger with UBS. He worked across many disciplines including the debt, equity and advisory businesses.
In his spare time, Rupert competes in the occasional Triathlon. He lives in Oxfordshire with his wife Marie, where their two children Alec and Flavia regularly visit them from London. They all spend time in France as often as they can.
Rupert joined CHIRP as the Drone Programme Manager in September 2020. He is responsible for answering all drone and UAS reports.
Ground Handling Programme Manager
Ernie Carter is a Ground Handling and Winter Operations Specialist, with significant experience working for British Airways & easyJet covering all aspects of airline, airport, and service provider operations. The last 12 years he has specifically specialised in all aspects of winter operations. He has developed and introduced numerous initiatives to improve safety and the overall operations at airports across the UK and Europe.
The Aviation Secretariat is supported by a CHIRP Executive Director and an Administration Manager & Company Secretary who provide core charity oversight and management activities.
Robert Robson OBE
Robert Robson joined the Royal Navy as a General List Seaman Officer in 1981, before going to London University to read History at Royal Holloway College on a University Cadetship. He served in minesweepers, frigates and destroyers in various different theatres.
In 1987 he joined Barclays plc and followed a generalist career with roles in branch relationship management and Operations, Regional Sales Director, Group Personnel and as Chief Operating Officer of the Large Corporate Banking team. He became Deputy Managing Director of European Business Banking in 1999 and then moved to the Group Strategy team to lead the educational work delivering a cultural change programme to the senior cadre of the Barclays Group.
In 2002 he moved to Barclays Private Bank, where he set up a new role as Global Head of Banking and Credit, followed by two years in Geneva as Head of European Offshore Banking, before returning to the UK as COO of the International Private Bank covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Robert became the founding CEO of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity in September 2008. The RNRMC is the strategic charity partner of the Royal Navy, established through the amalgamation of over 70 multiple funds and charities. The task was to create a grant-making and fundraising charity, building on firm governance foundations, selling the charity to its key stakeholders, and creating a team, culture and reputation that would allow the Board to deliver its strategy. Over ten years the Charity Group grew to deliver over £50m in grants to beneficiaries, serving, retired and their families. In 2018 he retired from this role and focused on building a portfolio career. In 2019 he completed the Professional Certificate in Coaching at Henley Business School.
He is currently Treasurer of the ADVANCE Study Charity and has been a Governor of The Royal Star and Garter Homes, Trustee of the Forces in Mind Trust, The Officers’ Association and a Director of COBSEO – the Confederation of Service Charities, Veterans Scotland and a Member of the Mary Rose Trust. He is a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights and Younger Brother of Trinity House. He was awarded the OBE in the 2017 for charitable service to naval personnel.
Robert lives on the South Downs with his wife Amanda, a specialist teacher and English tutor, and their labrador, Lira.
Robert joined CHIRP as the Executive Director in April 2020.
Administration Manager & Company Secretary
Stephanie started her career in aviation in 2004 working for bmi British Midland as a Customer Service Agent based at London Heathrow. After 3 years, she moved to the Flight Training Department based at the Stockley Park Training Centre working as the Flight Training Administrator and was responsible for the administration and organisation of cabin crew and flight crew training.
Stephanie joined CHIRP in May 2012 as the Administration and Cabin Crew Programme Manager. In October 2018, she was appointed as Company Secretary.
After returning from maternity leave in August 2021, the role of Cabin Crew Programme Manager was handed over to Jennifer Curran on a permanent basis.
Her principal responsibilities are the smooth running of the general and financial administration of CHIRP.