Meet the Crew New Draft

Maxine de Vries
Safe Landing Holland

Maxine is not dissimilar to Tom, in that both of them need to write their profiles.

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Todd Smith
Co-Founder

As a former Senior First Officer for Thomas Cook, Todd was inspired to learn to fly by his father, a builder, who told him to “always do a job he’d enjoy”, he set his goal on becoming a pilot at the tender age of five.

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Sourcing the enormous amount of money to pay for flight training, off the back of the 2008 recession, was by far his biggest challenge. Whilst operating the Airbus 321 in 2017, Todd had his medical revoked and was later diagnosed with Lyme Disease, an illness which has become much more prevalent in the UK due to milder winters and warmer summers. Whilst medically grounded, Todd transitioned to a plant-based diet, witnessed the impacts of climate change and mass tourism first hand, saw the rise of Environmental Activism globally, and felt compelled to understand the science. This then led to him having feelings of guilt, shame and betrayal regarding his career choice and the lack of proportionate action from industry leaders, with the global COVID-19 pandemic being the ‘final straw’. Although Todd recovered from Lyme Disease, he decided he could not return to flying passenger jets whilst the industry was going in the wrong direction and felt determined to join the climate movement, and raise the voice of workers in carbon heavy sectors like aviation, that are facing multiple crises and often fall victim to corporate greed and a culture of uncare.[/box] As a former Senior First Officer for Thomas Cook, Todd was inspired to learn to fly by his father, a builder, who told him to “always do a job he’d enjoy”, he set his goal on becoming a pilot at the tender age of five.

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George
UK Movement Builder

George is a current A320 pilot for a short haul airline in the UK. Outside of aviation he is a committed environmental, animal rights, racial justice and social justice campaigner and activist.

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George had always cared about climate change on a basic level having studied environmental science at university. However, it was only when the pandemic hit that the true impacts of aviation on the climate and ecological crisis and the fatal flaws in solutions proposed by the industry became apparent. “It is easy to feel like you are alone in caring deeply for nature and the climate crisis in the aviation industry. It can feel pretty despairing to see the industry not playing it’s part in immediate decarbonisation and instead doubling down on greenwash. To me it feels like we are being betrayed by the industry we love. I love flying and I love that aviation has allowed us to see parts of this beautiful planet and cultures we would never have been exposed to otherwise, but I am so scared that it is our industry that is causing a large part of the destruction of this fragile planet.” George is passionate about fighting for workers’ and climate justice in a fair transition to decarbonising aviation, but also about making sure that frequent flyers and airlines bare the brunt of the cost of this transition.