New challenge for Ascent instructor Chris Smart

While Ascent’s Chris Smart may have hung up his flying boots as an Elementary Flying Training (EFT) QFI at RAFC Cranwell on his 65th birthday, it’s good to know that future trainees will still benefit from his years of experience. 

Chris, who has been teaching EFT as part of 3 FTS for almost 25 years, is starting a new challenge as he transitions from QFI duties to a Qualified Synthetic Flying Instructor role. 

During the past two and a half decades, Chris has taught on three different EFT aircraft types, across numerous roles, various squadrons and has seen many organisational changes – including the introduction of UKMFTS. 

However, most importantly, he has instructed hundreds of military trainees from all three Services and many of our international partners. With the majority of his trainees going on to front-line service, his contribution to UK military capability has been significant, committed and sustained.

During a packed briefing at RAFC Cranwell, Peter Keenlyside, EFT Chief Pilot, presented Chris with a stunning print, reflecting his time at 3 FTS and the aircraft he has flown. 

He thanked Chris for his commitment and loyalty to Ascent as he makes the transition from EFT QFI to Prefect QSFI, where he will continue to use his experience and skill to share his knowledge with the pilots of the future.  

Peter said: “Chris has been with us since the start, and I would like to thank him on behalf of all of the trainees he has supported and taught and for the huge contribution he has made over many years. It really has been a wonderful commitment to UK Defence and one that deserves our collective and sincere gratitude.”