British Airways’ musical pilot Stuart Beech is helping Mancunians overcome their fear of planes as part of BA’s Flying with Confidence team.
The man from Oldham who shot to fame after singing on Michael McIntyre’s BBC1 programme The Big Show, has returned to his normal work life – only this time he’s using his singing talents to help newbie fliers overcome their fear of flying.
The team has helped more than 50,000 nervous customers take to the skies since the course first started over 30 years ago.
Stuart was working on one of the courses at Christmas when comedian McIntyre surprised him and invited him to fulfil his lifelong dream of singing in front of a packed crowd at London’s Theatre Royal.
Following his success on the show, Stuart now uses his singing ability to help calm the nerves of passengers taking part on the Flying with Confidence courses – and during the last course in Manchester he serenaded customers during the flight.
“It’s always great to come home to Manchester,” says Stuart. “Obviously I love flying and these courses are a great opportunity for me to help other people enjoy it too by overcoming their fears.
“While two other pilots fly the aircraft I like to walk through the cabin and chat to people, many of whom are flying without fear for the first time.
“And yes, I do like to encourage them to join in a singsong to celebrate!”
First officer Stuart, who pilots the British Airways Airbus A380, will be at the next Manchester course on Saturday 11th May – and he’s encouraging anyone who feels they need help with getting up in the air to sign up for the course.
In the 30 years since the courses started, BA has helped newlyweds go on their dream honeymoon, supported couples in long distance relationships, assisted family reunions, as well as new jobs and opportunities overseas.
The course even helped a former WWII pilot build up the confidence to get back on a plane following many years of avoiding flying.
The one-day course includes a morning session with British Airways pilots explaining the technical side of flying, challenges common areas of concern for people such as turbulence, offers expert advice from a psychologist on relaxation techniques, and anxiety management.
The day includes an actual flight with a dedicated British Airways A320 short-haul aircraft and crew, where customers can put what they’ve learned into practice and challenge themselves to take to the skies of Greater Manchester.