Senior Management Team

Tristan Crawford
Tristan Crawford

Tristan has a wealth of experience in the UK, French and US aerospace industries having worked for Airbus, QinetiQ and Alcan Global Aerospace & Transportation. He has held leading roles in aerospace engineering, product development, marketing, technical sales and government relations. Tristan has an MA from Cambridge University, an MSc from Cranfield College of Aeronautics in Aerospace Vehicle Design, and an MSc from the University of Chicago.

Tristan had the idea for AERALIS whilst working on the BAe Hawk jet trainer at QinetiQ, where he recognised that the jet trainer market was not yet benefitting from the Airbus approach of exploiting modular design to better commercialise aircraft sales. This led to Tristan developing a design and patent for the ‘Airbus’ equivalent of jet trainers, i.e. a modular, common aircraft design that could be easily adapted to fulfil a variety of training roles to improve market appeal whilst also generating step-change lifecycle cost benefits for operators.

Matt Powlson
Matt Powlson

Matt is the Chief Systems Engineer for AERALIS covering both the aircraft systems and the Information System within which they operate, for all potential roles and applications.

Matt served as an Engineering Officer in the RAF for 20 years on Jaguar and Typhoon fast jet platforms and C-130 and C-17 air transport aircraft.  He also spent considerable time in Defence Equipment and Support, including time as Military Assistant to the Chief of Defence Procurement.  Since leaving the RAF, Matt has owned and run a number of technical companies developing software applications for mobile devices, processing large datasets, and supporting clients in delivering their compliance and certification for civil and military users.  He recently led the military certification and introduction to service of the UK MOD’s 3 new, civil-derivative, fixed wing training aircraft.

With a breadth of aircraft and digital experience, Matt ensures that the systems on and off the aircraft integrate effectively to provide a highly capable training solution.

Dr Neil Barnett FRAeS
Dr Neil Barnett FRAeS

Neil leads on AERALIS partnerships, forging key relationships as part of integrating both UK and international Aerospace and Defence supply chains to deliver the AERALIS aircraft system.

Neil has held leadership positions on Military Helicopter, Large Civil Aircraft and Fast Jet Trainer activities at Messier Dowty, EHI, BAES, Airbus, MOD and ADS. This has included managing programme, procurement and supply chain teams in the UK, France, Italy and North America with a high degree of exposure to different cultures, customers, partners and suppliers worldwide including Europe, China, Russia, Japan and North America.

Neil’s experience of delivering new, and improving the efficiency of existing, complex procurement and supply organisations will help AERALIS develop the required delivery enterprise including UK and international partners.

In addition to his extensive industrial experience, Neil has an MBA and an Aerospace and Defence related PhD researching Servitization and Supply Chain efficiency under availability contracting.

Dean Taylor
Dean Taylor

Dean is responsible for developing the AERALIS sales pipeline and converting opportunities into sales, internally ensuring the AERALIS offer reflects market demands.

Dean comes to AERALIS with 30 years’ experience in the development of new military aerospace business, from strategy to sales.  Having set strategy for Rolls-Royce for projects such as F-35 and A400M at their inception, he brings to AERALIS know-how around the early evolution of projects.  He managed market analysis and strategy development for Rolls-Royce in the defence market, catalysing sales campaigns and setting new directions.

As the role of the service provider grows within the global trainer market, Dean brings the insights to tailor the full AERALIS offering, having led – and won – the campaign to provide the RAF with its latest 3 trainer aircraft as a turnkey service.  With 5 years prior experience within the team that won the £10Bn refuelling aircraft service provision contract for the RAF and having assembled Babcock’s bid team for adversary air services, he has unrivalled knowledge of how an aircraft fits into service solutions and how these deals are won.

Alison Partington
Alison Partington

Alison leads on commercial and governance strategy for AERALIS, primarily ensuring that all contractual and partnership arrangements are fit for purpose and support company growth.

Alison has a wealth of experience in the aerospace and defence sector, working on both MoD and international contracts worldwide. She began her career at British Aerospace Guided Weapons, moving to Hunting Engineering as Head of Commercial and then Commercial Director at Lockheed Martin INSYS.

She was chairman of UK’s aerospace & defence trade body Commercial Committee for 10 years, and a member of the governing body. She has been providing commercial consultancy and training to a large number of UK engineering, defence and aerospace companies for the past twelve years and has worked on a wide range of projects and tenders.

Terry Nitschke
Terry Nitschke

As CIO, Terry is responsible for the strategy, design and implementation of technology systems covering all aspects of AERALIS’s manufacturing, operations, training and business functions.

With over 35 years board level experience in roles from CTO to Managing Director, Terry has extrapolated complex concepts into new business ideas, determined technology strategies and implemented  elegant, scalable, transformative, cost effective and innovative technology solutions for a variety of businesses both large and small, including: Private Aviation, Venture Capital, Government, Finance, Legal, Manufacturing, Craft Brewing, Fashion, Film, IOT, Machine Learning and Internet based start-up businesses.

Previous to AERALIS, Terry was CTO and employee No.3 for NetJets Europe where he helped build a multi-site, European private aviation business with 168 aircraft under management and 3000+ staff, pilots & crew with sales of $1.8b as well as CIO at WPS Challenger which was an operator-led London based venture capital firm.

Luca Leone
Luca Leone

Luca is responsible for developing the engineering, procurement and supply chain capability for the AERALIS aircraft and training system programme.

Luca is an experienced Programme Manager having worked on a range of UK MoD and international defence programmes including programme and business development roles with Morgan Advanced Materials, as Chairman of the Defence Export Focus Group for the UK’s aerospace & defence trade body, and leading a range of collaborative defence projects for Team Defence Information. Since 2017 Luca has been running the AERALIS design and engineering programme with a team of talented and innovative engineers from across the UK aerospace, defence and Formula 1 sectors.

Luca is also a Non-Executive Director for the Alan Turing Trust, an advisor to the MoD on better exploitation of supply chain capabilities, a qualified Prince 2 practitioner and a Member of the Institute of Directors and the Royal Aeronautical Society.

Simon Parker
Simon Parker

Simon is responsible for establishing a UK aerospace supply chain for the AERALIS aircraft development programme.

Simon’s experience includes the role of Managing Director of AeSoM, a successful aerospace supply chain service offering a sales, business management and supply chain service to aerospace companies wishing to grow their businesses in Europe. Simon brings expertise in Engineering, Procurement and Sales, having started as an aerodynamicist for BAe (Airbus) Ltd., then transferring to the Airbus Procurement department, working with suppliers from all over the world, majoring on France, Germany and the US. This was followed by working as European Business Manager for the Eldec division of the Crane Corporation based in Seattle.

Rebecca Haynes
Rebecca Haynes

Rebecca runs the AERALIS Operations Department, co-ordinating marketing, financial and administrative tasks.

Prior to this she worked for over 10 years in the Advertising industry and was an Account Director at International Advertising Agency, Ogilvy.  Whilst there she ran campaigns for clients including IBM, British Telecom, Huggies and British Gas.

Following this, Rebecca worked in Operations for Aviation Consultancy, Northpoint, before joining AERALIS.


Bob Bell
Former Technical Director of Mercedes Formula 1

Malcolm Bird
Founder ARM & Chairman of e-Go, a lightweight recreational aircraft

Keith Dennison
Keith Dennison, former Chief Test Pilot, BAE Systems

Professor John Fielding
Emeritus Professor of Aircraft Design at Cranfield University

Professor Iain Gray
Head of Aerospace, Cranfield University & Former MD of Airbus UK

Sir Gerald Howarth
MP for 35 years & Former Shadow Defence Procurement Minister

William Hynett OBE
CEO of Britten-Norman Ltd

Keith McKay
Former Airframer Expert, BAE Systems

Neil Rawlinson
Strategic Director, Manufacturing Technology Centre

John Turner
Former Chief Test Pilot, BAE Systems

The team


Richard Lees CEng FIMechE
Richard Lees CEng FIMechE

Richard is responsible for the sound engineering integration of structures, aerodynamics, safety and systems design for the AERALIS aircraft.

Richard has extensive programme experience across the A350 XWB, A380 and A340-600 aircraft programmes in a wide range of aerospace engineering disciplines. Richard has led airliner wing and fuselage static analysis from concept to in-service repair, fuel system design, landing gear integration, system integration and R&D leadership, project and resource management.

Richard joined British Aerospace as an undergraduate apprentice and studied Mechanical Engineering, working throughout the production & design process to form a requirements-driven, holistic view on good product design. Having led a small-focussed team to trouble-shoot critical aircraft system issues, Richard is a strong believer in the power of small, motivated teams to deliver on large projects.

Richard comes as a Consultant from Atkins Aerospace where he is Chief Systems Engineer, tapping into Atkins’ group of engineers and consultants.

Peter Curtis
Peter Curtis

Peter leads on the overall aerodynamic design & development of the AERALIS aircraft.

Peter was formerly Chief Technical Officer at the UK’s Aircraft Research Association (ARA) where he led the development of leading edge experimental aerodynamics capability and lent his expertise to research and development projects for ARA customers worldwide.

Peter has worked as an aerodynamicist since completing his degree in Aeronautical Engineering in 1984. Peter initially worked at British Aerospace in Kingston, before subsequently moving to Farnborough where Peter worked on a number of research projects before becoming heavily involved in the initial design of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, including a two-year stint in the USA.  Peter also played a pivotal role in the preliminary and detailed aerodynamic design of the Nimrod MRA4 and also in-service development of the Harrier VTOL aircraft.

Martin Wilkinson
Martin Wilkinson

Martin provides advice on propulsion and propulsion system integration into the AERALIS aircraft.

Martin spent over 40 years with BAE Systems and predecessor companies, initially completing an apprenticeship followed by work on the Concorde fuel system at Filton before moving to Warton in 1976. Here he worked on a number of projects such as Jaguar, Tornado, Typhoon and Nimrod MRA4, initially managing propulsion system engineering through the life cycle phases of design and development, production and support.

He then took on wider responsibility, managing large multi-site teams across aircraft engineering more generally on Nimrod MRA4 (where he was also Aircraft Project Safety Engineer for a time) and other programmes.

Martin is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

Liam Bailey
Liam Bailey

Liam is Atkins Head of Design Organisation for the Civil EASA Part 21J.687 and Military UK MAA DAOS.0409 businesses and, supplemented by his role as of Head of Engineering under Atkins Aerospace AS9100 Quality Management System, Liam is responsible for the technical governance and quality of design and analysis of aerospace structures & aircraft systems.

Liam is a Chartered Engineer and Structures CVE with extensive aerospace experience leading the development of critical assets through the full design cycle from concept to manufacture, with a breadth of experience that encompasses structural integrity assessments of safety critical components, technical integration, programme leadership and complex problem solving.

Liam has been providing technical support and guidance to AERALIS since 2019, helping to develop the early structural design concepts with a focus on designing for certification.

Liam has developed several parametric analysis tools on behalf of AERALIS which support the rapid development of a certifiable structural design. Tools include a preliminary weight, balance and aircraft stability evaluation, and an initial structural analysis tool, which uses a modified skin-boom idealisation to rapidly determine the stress distribution in both open and closed sections, allowing for effective preliminary structural sizing of the Wings and Common Core Fuselage.

Scott A Vaughan
Scott A Vaughan

Scott is responsible for developing the certification, test and evaluation capability for the AERALIS programme; and in this capacity, will be one of the first to fly the new aircraft. He is also responsible for securing AERALIS’ airworthiness and operating approvals.

Scott has an outstanding track record for delivering unique and complex projects across a range of aircraft types and technologies, grounded in a wealth of experience across airworthiness, aircraft certification, experimental and developmental flight test, regulatory development and implementation.

During his tenure as Technical & Safety Director and Chief Air Engineer to the UK Military Flying Training System, Scott led the certification, flight test, acceptance and entry into service effort for the MOD’s three most recent fixed-wing training aircraft types. He was also responsible for securing the approvals required for those aircraft to be maintained and operated safely.

More recently, Scott has been invited to work internationally on projects including; the provision of risk to life advice on the integration of aircraft modifications, capability upgrades and aircrew equipment, the refinement of flight simulators, the testing and acceptance of aircraft of a variety of types, and the development of operating safety cases for remotely piloted air systems.

He is a Chartered Engineer, Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and an advocate of science and engineering communication.

The board

Brian Hibbert CBE
Brian Hibbert CBE

Brian leads the AERALIS Main Board to ensure good governance of the AERALIS company.

Brian was formerly Chief Executive of Lockheed Martin UK Insys Ltd, following a management buyout of Hunting Engineering for which Brian was Managing Director and Engineering Director. Brian has also held non-executive positions as Chair of the Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce, National Board of the British Chambers of Commerce, and Chair of the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership.

Brian is a Chartered Engineer, member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, an Honorary Fellow of the Society of Environmental Engineers, a member of the Institute of Directors and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He has served on a number of bodies such as the Society of British Aerospace Companies, the CBI Technology/Innovation committee, and the Court of Cranfield University. Brian was appointed a CBE for services to the Defence Industry in 2004.

Nic Birtles
Nic Birtles

Nic is responsible for developing AERALIS’s investor base to support the future growth of the programme whilst also advising on AERALIS’s end-to-end IT infrastructure.

Nic has spent over 40 years growing & running major IT companies including Ingres, Gupta, Constellar & Comshare, including 10 years working in Silicon Valley during the period. Nic has strong International Business Development experience, scaling up early stage companies and fund raising, and is an angel investor for several IT start-ups.

Nic has lead significant fundraising for innovative IT projects & start-ups whilst leading the Entrepreneurship panel for the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists, becoming Master of the Company in 2015.  Nic is also Deputy Chairman of the Hammersmith Academy Trust.

Air Vice Marshal Mark Green (retd) CBE
Air Vice Marshal Mark Green (retd) CBE

As AERALIS’ Senior Military Advisor, Mark supports the development and implementation of the Programme’s Business Plan, the design and development of the AERALIS aircraft and all elements of the training system.

Mark’s first flying tour in the Royal Air Force was as Qualified Flying Instructor at RAF Valley on the Hawk TMK1. He went on to fly the Harrier, Tornado and Jaguar before returning to RAF Valley as the Station Commander and Chief Flying Instructor. He held Central Flying School’s A2 flying instructional categories on the Hawk and Harrier and was also the CFS Agent for the Harrier Force. His staff appointments included Director of Flying Training and Air Officer Commanding 22Gp. He worked on the Joint Strike Fighter Programme for some 10 years responsible for authoring the UK’s requirement through to becoming the Project Team Leader and procuring the first UK aircraft. After leaving the RAF in 2014, Mark joined Lockheed Martin as their Business Development Director for Global Training Systems.

Mark joined the AERALIS Team in 2019. His experience in the RAF at literally all levels of the flying training system (student to Air Officer Commanding) together with his acquisition and latterly commercial experience in Industry, makes Mark uniquely qualified to support all elements of the AERALIS programme.

Richard Eastment OBE FRAeS
Richard Eastment OBE FRAeS

Richard leads the market engagement programme for AERALIS as well as co-ordinating the evaluation of customer requirements for the AERALIS aircraft design and training system.

Richard is a former RAF Wing Commander and Qualified Flying Instructor with over 6,000 flying hours, including over 3,000 hours on the Hawk jet trainer aircraft. Richard went on to lead development of all requirements for training aircraft and flight simulators in the UK Ministry of Defence, where he was responsible for the first four MoD PFI projects, and the first studies that led to the UK Military Flying Training System.  He was awarded the OBE for his success in upgrading most of the RAF’s training systems while in the MoD.

Following the RAF, Richard joined BAE Systems in various training and business development roles and was Head of Training within Military Air. He then moved on to develop his own consultancy business advising on training system design & procurement.

Bill Lazarus
Bill Lazarus

Bill is responsible for the sound financial management of the AERALIS company.

Bill is a commercially-orientated Group Finance Director and Non-Executive Director with considerable corporate finance, financial and operational management experience in Europe and the United States, both in international listed companies as well in a Private Equity backed MBO.

Bill’s experience includes MBO funding and syndication, refinancing and private debt placement, Plc Equity Raising (Placements & Rights Issues) and Takeover experience, secondary Buyout and Financial Restructuring experience, Acquisitions, Disposals and Demergers, and as an Audit Committee Chairman. Bill has also been a Board Member of the UK government’s Industrial Development Advisory Board, advising Ministers on financial assistance and Government grants for UK aerospace and other sectors.

Roger Graham
Roger Graham

Roger is responsible for advising on strategy for growth, product and service enhancement and consequential cash needs and exit timings for the AERALIS company.

Roger is a successful private investor having led a 2,000 strong global IT business majoring in software for international banks. Having sold that for some $110million in 1993 Roger has invested and supported some 30 small IT businesses most of which Roger has now sold. Prior to this Roger worked for IBM, leading a large sales & systems analyst team for a large automotive customer, having previously worked for the Beagle aircraft company as an engineering undergraduate from Cambridge University.

Roger has led the creation of some 3,000 jobs and created £500M of value for shareholders. He has also been President of the IT Trade associations for the UK and Europe and the founding Chairman of the World Computer Services Forum, securing a worldwide software copyright agreement in the 1980s. Roger is also the Founding Chairman of Archives of IT (, inspiring future leaders of IT through insights into the experiences of their predecessors.

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