The Trustees

Trustees of Vulcan to the Sky Trust

John Sharman (Chair)

John Sharman was a founding shareholder in Spectrum Capital, Ltd. in 1985 and is an Executive Director of the company. John is a graduate of University College, Oxford.

John's career started at Rolls Royce who awarded him an industrial scholarship in 1967. After graduating from Oxford, he was appointed PA to the Production Director. After leaving Rolls Royce, John joined First National Finance as a trainee management accountant, eventually working on the formation of the property lifeboat during the secondary-banking crisis in 1972. From 1973 to 1980, John worked in Singapore for the United Overseas Bank Group, specialising in ship finance and finance for the Tin Dredging industry including the repatriation of London Tin Corporation to Malaysia to form what is today Malaysian Mining Corporation.

Upon his return from Singapore, John was appointed Managing Director of Guinness Peat Midland, a joint venture between Guinness Peat Aviation and Midland Bank (now HSBC) designed to develop aircraft finance products through Ireland. Having been head-hunted by Chemical Bank in 1982, he was appointed Vice President, Special Finance Group tasked with developing a successful aviation portfolio.

Over the last 20 years, John has been a key player in establishing and developing Spectrum's business in the aviation finance sector and now runs Spectrum Capital London Limited. In his time at Spectrum, he has been instrumental in developing a range of complex option lease structures that have been employed by a number of airlines worldwide. In 2002 he was acclaimed by Euromoney as one of the sector's "top 50 market shapers", based on his significant contribution via the development of innovative financing structures.

John is a Non-Executive Director of Aer Lingus, where he is also presently acting Chairman. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society; a member of the Aerospace committee of the Department of Trade & Industry; a member of the Aviation Club of Great Britain and is visiting lecturer in Air Transport Management at City University

Richard Clarke

Previous Chairman 'The Vulcan To The Sky Club'

Gerald Howarth MP

Gerald was born in September 1947. He was educated at Haileybury and ISC Junior School, Windsor, and Bloxham School, Banbury (scholar). He read English at the University of Southampton (BA Hons) where he served with the University Air Squadron and was commissioned into the RAFVR in 1968.

After university he became General Secretary of the Society for Individual Freedom but in 1971 he began a career in international banking. He worked for Bank of America International Ltd (1971-1977), European Arab Bank (1977-81) and in 1981 he was appointed Manager, Loan Syndications at Standard Chartered Bank, responsible for arranging major international loans.

In 1982 Gerald was elected a Councillor for Chiswick in the London Borough of Hounslow and served as Shadow Vice-Chairman of the Environmental Planning Committee. In 1983 he was elected Member of Parliament for the former coal-mining constituency of Cannock and Burntwood, Staffordshire, Labour’s 50th most marginal seat which he held until 1992, becoming the only Conservative to hold Cannock for 2 terms.

Gerald’s first official appointment was as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Michael Spicer MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Energy (1987-90), then Minister of State for the Department of the Environment (1990-91). Gerald then became PPS to Margaret Thatcher from December 1991 to April 1992. Between 1983 and 1992 he was an officer of the Conservative Parliamentary Aviation Committee, and was a Founder Member of the No Turning Back Group.

In 1993, a year after losing his seat in Staffordshire, Gerald was selected as the candidate for Aldershot where he succeeded Sir Julian Critchley in 1997. Since then, he has served on the Home Affairs Select Committee (1997-2001) and as Vice-Chairman of the Defence Select Committee (2001-03). For a while he was a member of the Executive of the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers.

From 2002 to 2010 he served as a Shadow Defence Minister with responsibility for defence procurement and the Royal Air Force.

In May 2010, Gerald was appointed to be the Minister for International Security Strategy.

Since 2002 he has served as a Shadow Defence Minister with responsibility for defence procurement and the Royal Air Force. In addition to his frontbench duties Gerald is also Convenor (Chairman) of the all party RAF Group, an officer of the Parliamentary Aerospace Group, Chairman of the 92 Group of Conservative MPs, and an active member of the all-party Kashmir group.

Gerald is also a regular contributor to the all party Photography group’s annual exhibition. He is President of the Air Display Association (which represents those who organise and participate in air shows around the UK and Europe) and in 2006 became a trustee of the Vulcan To the Sky project which is restoring to flying condition a Vulcan bomber. Apart from defence, he takes a keen interest in home affairs issues, family issues, the media and industry.

Gerald has been married to Elizabeth since 1973 and they have 3 children. In his spare time he enjoys flying (he has held a pilot’s licence since 1965), photography and fishing, and is a church warden at the Royal Garrison Church in Aldershot. He also does the occasional DIY.


Dr Steve Liddle MEng(hons) PhD CEng MRAeS

Steve was inspired into a career in aerospace by a fascination with the Vulcans, Buccaneers and Tornados that visited the nearby RAF Finningley when he was growing up. He studied for MEng and PhD degrees at the University of Manchester, the former as part of a sandwich course in which he spent time at Rolls-Royce, developing manufacturing technology for the JSF (F-35 Lightning II) programme.

After briefly working as a consultant at INBIS (now Assystem) in Bristol, again mainly contributing to JSF, he spent four years in research back at the University of Manchester, looking at the development of novel aerodynamic actuators in work supported by BAE Systems and Airbus. In February 2010, he led a small team that completed the first (openly acknowledged!) flight of a gas turbine powered aircraft using fluidic thrust vectoring for pitch control. The model scale aircraft, JAVA, is now on display in the Manchester museum of science and industry.

Later in 2010, he changed direction to some extent and joined Red Bull Technology as an aerodynamicist. Although difficult to claim any credit for the first championships in 2010, since then he has contributed to the aerodynamic design and development of the 2011-2013 constructor’s and world driver's championship winning cars. He was chairman of the RAeS Young Members Board in 2008-10 and an elected council member from 2010. In 2011, he realised a long held ambition in becoming a trustee of the Vulcan to the Sky Trust.

Sir Donald Spiers CB, TD, FRAeS

Donald Spiers was born in Wimbledon in 1934. Following schooling at Blakesley House and Raynes Park County Grammar, he joined the Army and was commissioned in the Royal Engineers, serving with 16 Parachute Brigade in Egypt . From 1954 to 1957 he read Mechanical Sciences at Trinity College , Cambridge , where he was an Exhibitioner. After graduating he served an apprenticeship with the de Havilland Engine Company at Stag Lane and then became a gas turbine development engineer in the Halford Laboratory at Hatfield.

In 1961 he joined the Air Ministry, working on a variety of operational research topics, including the Kestrel evaluation trial in 1965 and covering the Radfan war in Aden in 1966. From 1967 to 1970 he was the Scientific Adviser to the Far East Air Force, based in Singapore but undertaking operational analysis and trials work in Australia , Malaysia , Thailand , Vietnam and Hong Kong as well.

Returning to London , he became Assistant Chief Scientist to the RAF, until in 1978 he moved to the Procurement Executive where he became in turn project director for the Hawk, Jaguar, Tornado and Eurofighter aircraft programmes. From 1982 to 1985 he was Chairman of the NAMMA Board of Directors, responsible for the overall policy control of the international Tornado programmed. In 1986 he became Controller of Establishments, Research and Nuclear Programmes in the MOD, and then from 1989 to 1994 he was Controller Aircraft in the MOD, responsible for the procurement of all aerospace materiel for the UK Armed Forces.

After leaving the MOD, Sir Donald served as a Director of Meggitt plc; Messier-Dowty International; Smiths Aerospace; and Siemens-Plessey. He was Chairman of the Government Foresight Defence and Aerospace Panel and of the 1988 Government enquiry into the new Air Traffic Control Centre at Swanwick. He was President of the Royal Aeronautical Society for 1995 - 1996 and of the Popular Flying Association from 1997-2000 Dynamics ( UK ) and TAG Aviation (UK). He is Chairman of the Farnborough Aerospace Consortium and of the Farnborough Enterprise Hub. He is also a Council Member of the Royal Aeronautical Society and of the Air League.

Sir Donald is married to Sylvia and they have two grown up sons. Over the years his interests have included parachuting, flying, teaching other people to fly, riding horses and rebuilding old cars. He was awarded the Territorial Decoration in 1966, appointed a Companion of the Bath in 1987, and received a Knighthood in 1993.

Sir Donald is currently Chairman of Agusta Westland International and a Director of General

Ken Smart CBE, FRAeS

Non-Executive Director and Board Member of British Airways where he is Chairman of the Safety Review Committee. He also serves on the Company Audit Committee. Ken joined the Department for Transport’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) in 1975 becoming the UK’s Chief Inspector of Air Accidents and Head of the Air Accidents Investigation Branch in September 1990 until his retirement in April 2005.

He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the UK Confidential Human Factors Incident Reporting Programme, European President of the International Society of Air Safety Investigators and a Visiting Professor at Cranfield University. Ken is married with two children and his interests are sport, especially tennis and mountaineering.