Matt Lindley

One Of The RAF's First Openly Gay Pilots

Airline and former Royal Air Force pilot Matt Lindley talks candidly about being one of the first openly gay pilots in the Armed Forces.  Listen to his journey of having a childhood dream to fly, almost crushed by a ban on gay serving personnel in the Forces.  Matt describes how he consciously suppressed his sexuality and joined an organisation knowing that being ‘out’ would have resulted in a possible prison sentence.

His story is one of self-motivation, determination, and drive which led to a dream being fulfilled.  Matt describes how the RAF adapted its culture from one of open hostility towards gay personnel to acceptance and support.  But this is not just another ‘coming out story’, instead Matt uses his experience, to highlight the benefits of positive culture change and transformational leadership to the well being of employees and the productivity of an organisation.  Listen to Matts journey which culminated in flying the Royal Family for over 10 years whilst serving in the Air Force.

He graduated with a degree in commerce from the University of Birmingham. After joining the Ford Motor Company, he was selected from the graduate intake for his specialist knowledge on implementing Japanese Management techniques in the car industry. In 1995 he was selected to be a pilot in the Royal Air Force. During his military career, he flew many aircraft including the Hawk fighter jet. In 2000, he was selected to fly Her Majesty The Queen, members of the Royal Family and Government worldwide, serving on The Royal Squadron. Whilst serving he became a qualified flying instructor and VIP qualified Captain.

In 2007 Matt left the Service to join The British Airways, initially flying the Airbus on their short haul network. Matt now flies the Boeing 747 on BAs long haul routes. Matt has also specialised in non-technical training within aviation and medicine. Human Factors is a science which analyses why we all make mistakes in the workplace and suggests ways to improve teamwork leadership and crew corporation to mitigate this risk. In 2013 Matt was asked to join ‘Atrainability’ – a company specialising in teaching life-saving training to Doctors. Matt has developed courses to help healthcare professionals minimise mistakes, understanding their own vulnerabilities and thus reducing error rates in hospitals.

Recently he has diversified his talks to the wider business community. Matt has delivered training to a US Law firm and advised a leading international investment bank. Throughout the 1970’s and 80’s many aircraft unnecessarily crashed as a result of ‘pilot error’. NASA and leading airlines concluded that the weak link in any operation is the human performance of the pilots.  Over the years pilot and crew training has been adapted to minimise this risk. Many of these new ‘non-technical’ techniques are valid in the wider business community.

Matts focuses on Management Lessons from The Flight Deck. Matt uses a variety of accident and incidents from many different industries including aviation and healthcare, to highlight why everybody is vulnerable to making mistakes. His presentation mixes psychology, case studies, interactive exercises and real-life practical tips on how to change the way we work.

To book Matt Lindley as the futurist speaker for your corporate event, function or conference, simply contact the Champions Speakers agency by emailing agent@championsukplc.com or by calling a booking agent directly on 0207 1010 553.

When he’s at corporate events, Matt is known to cover the following topics:

  • Management Lessons From The Flight Deck
  • Leadership and Behaviour
  • Conflict Management
  • Stress Fatigue and Human Performance
  • Communication and Assertiveness
  • Decision-Making Under Stress

“A very informative presentation – it was highly enjoyable learning about experiences from other industries and how lessons learnt elsewhere can be applied in the legal workplace”

“I really enjoyed it. I was (honestly) quite sceptical about this topic but I found it really helpful”

“Matt is a very engaging speaker who really knows his stuff – he uses diverse case studies across sectors to illustrate his points expertly well. I left the training as if I had really learnt something”

“A refreshing and engaging training session dealing with some of the softer skills which are often overlooked by the industry”