Blog. Britain's Busiest Airport

Q&A – Ian, Senior Airfield Officer

Ian, Senior Airfield Officer, portrait
Heathrow: Britain's Busiest Airport - find out more

In Heathrow: Britain’s Busiest Airport we’ve seen Ian learning to marshal long-haul jets, checking the runways for debris and now demonstrating various novel ways to keep birds and aircraft apart.

And as a card-carrying aviation enthusiast and birdwatcher, it must be the ideal job for the former health and safety officer from the West Midlands.

Ian spent 23 years working in aviation, before changing jobs. But he missed the excitement of airport life and took his job at Heathrow in 2017.

“I love the variety of work and the buzz it gives you, plus the big skies and weather,” says Ian.

What’s the biggest challenge you face at work?

The amount you need to learn in a short time to be fully effective.

Top tips for the job?

Always keep your eyes open, and your mind. If you care, you can do something about it.

What career advice would you give your younger self?

Start even younger!

When did you realise you had a talent for bird impressions? Does it really help in your role?

I’m not sure about talent! But I heard a blackbird once and tried to mimic it. I think it does help – birds can become habituated, so something new and different makes them wary or inquisitive. Corvids (crows) are extremely clever.

And finally … any top grooming tips?

Always ensure your moustache wax is pliable and to hand. Oh, and keep your monocle clean!

Heathrow: Britain’s Busiest Airport

Heathrow at night

The documentary cameras return for a behind-the-scenes look at the people who keep Heathrow running. Meet air traffic controllers, sanitation engineers, Border Force officers and front-line Passenger Experience Managers – and share their daily challenges in this ‘city within a city’ where no two days are alike.

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