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And car mechanic Ian's other job is.....

PUBLISHED: 18:04 14 February 2008 | UPDATED: 10:26 03 July 2010

THE 'OTHER' JOB: Mechanic and pilot Ian Parrott

THE 'OTHER' JOB: Mechanic and pilot Ian Parrott

Dominic Bareham

A car mechanic is changing gear for a new career which is more than just pie in the sky…

For when Ian Parrott is not tinkling with a pensioner's runaround he is at the controls of a multi million pound commercial aircraft ferrying close to 100 passengers from Stansted to a range of European destinations.

A car mechanic is changing gear for a new career which is more than just pie in the sky…

For when Ian Parrott is not tinkling with a pensioner's runaround he is at the controls of a multi million pound commercial aircraft ferrying close to 100 passengers from Stansted to a range of European destinations.

The airline pilot who lives in El Alamein Way, Bradwell, with wife Kelly, 32, and daughters Tyla, 11 and Olivia, 3, started flying with Titan Airways in December after completing his training on the company's BAE146 regional jets which travel to destinations within the UK and the near European continent, such as Belfast, Edinburgh, France and Germany.

The 41-year-old who switches from grubby overalls to pressed pilot attire has come in for a bit of good-humoured ribbing over his second job from colleagues at Simply MOTs, in Runham Vauxhall, where he continues to work when he is not busy cruising at 37,000 feet.

He said: “I was welding up an old Escort the other day and my manager Jason Stroud walked past and said, 'Well, this is life in the fast lane, flying a £20m jet yesterday and welding up an old Ford Escort today.'”

His passion for flying stems from when he was just three or four-years-old when he used to visit Heathrow with his uncle Colin Parrott to watch Concorde taking off.

“It is something that I have always wanted to do, but never thought I would get there really. I think it is a skill that not everybody can do. It is very challenging and when you are up in the air there is a sense of freedom, which you would not be able to appreciate if you were not interested in flying,” Mr Parrott said.

He has been flying for eight years and started out on his course as a private pilot with Anglian Air Centre at Norwich Airport where he flew light aircraft such as Cessnas.

He gained his commercial licence in 2004 after completing 14 exams testing his knowledge of planes, including the cockpit instruments.

This enabled him to take a self funded £70,000 course to fly Boeing 737s before he was offered the job at Titan Airways and trained on the BAE146 jets.

A normal working week usually consists of three days as a pilot flying four times a night between Stansted and Belfast, and then chipping in where he can at Simply MOTs, which he owns.

But Mr Parrott could be asked to fly to the other European destinations covered by Titan Airways and may eventually train on the larger Boeing 757s to fly on the airline's long haul routes.

Although the flight time on the Belfast route is about one hour, his work takes longer as he has to do much pre-planning before the plane takes off including engine tests and weather checks, as well as making sure his jet is suitable to take off on a specific runway.

And right now he is perfectly content to be one of the world's few pilot mechanics.

“I don't think I will ever leave Titan Airways. It really is a top notch company. You won't find any better in the UK airline industry and I have to pinch myself every day to make sure I am not dreaming.”

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