Callen-Lenz Spotlight Series

Our head of flight operations, Christian Ackroyd, stands in front of a BA Boeing 747.

Our Employee in the Spotlight series is a chance to highlight the impact our team members have on the success of Callen-Lenz. This week, we shine a light on Christian Ackroyd, our Head of Flight Operations, exploring his journey into the cockpit and wider flying operations and his role at Callen-Lenz.

'My love of aviation started very early, like many young boys infatuated by flying, by 12 my bedroom was full of aircraft posters and Airfix kits. This quickly translated into the Air Cadets and onto my Glider Pilots Licence.  Following university, I joined the Army as an Officer, serving for a large part as an Engineer in many parts of the world. Following a very successful and thoroughly enjoyable 20-year military career, I completed conversion to a civilian pilot and gained a PPL(A) as I focussed on a civilian career.  When I find the time, I still enjoy flying, both touring and aerobatic light aircraft.

Back in civilian aviation, I spent the next 5 years in Airport Manager and Operations Director roles and thoroughly enjoyed the challenges, both from a leadership and technical perspective. My first excursion into uncrewed aircraft was in an Operations Director role, responsible for long distance BVLOS flights to survey customer offshore oil and gas platforms. This whetted my appetite to combine my crewed aviation experience with my model flying hobby in a sector that is dynamic, energetic and driving the future of aviation.

My current role at Callen-Lenz as Head of Flight Operations is both incredibly enjoyable and challenging. My team is responsible for test flying everything from complex cutting edge prototypes, to flight acceptance tests on our production aircraft. It is a very diverse role, responsible for setting of flying policy, crew capability requirements, governance of flying operations, approvals and regulatory compliance. I’ve loved every minute of the role so far and working as part of the strong team at Callen-Lenz: it is an exciting, fulfilling and valued place to work – the company has an abundance of opportunities and room for variety in every role. This means employees have so many opportunities to add value and so many avenues to making a tangible difference in a cutting-edge aerospace company.

If I could be as bold as to offer any advice to people at any stage of their career, it’s to follow your passion and not get too caught up in career milestones and money; that will all follow your inevitable success in a field you are passionate about. Don’t worry, if you are mid-career and wish to change to aviation; don’t have any preconceived ideas about how your ideal career path should be, or about any barriers to entry. Go for it!

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Callen-Lenz Spotlight Series