The Pilot

Phil lives in Vernon, B.C. Canada, with his wife Laurie. Originally from New Zealand, he joined the RNZAF at 17 years of age, and flew the venerable T6 Harvard, BAC 167 Strikemaster, and McDonnell Douglas A4 Skyhawk in the fighter / ground attack role. During this time he was selected as the youngest member of the RNZAF Strikemaster Aerobatic Team, and later the A4 Skyhawk Aerobatic Team.

That experience combined with aerobatic flying in machines such as the Tiger Moth led to a career move to U.K.'s Marlboro Aerobatic Team, where he flew Pitts Specials alongside national aerobatic champions Philip Meeson and long-time friend Nigel Lamb (of Red Bull Air Racing fame). 


During this time he flew at many internationally recognized airshows, including  Farnborough and Biggin Hill, as well as numerous Formula One events and most major military and civilian airshows in the U.K.  Solo and 2 -aircraft tours in Scandinavia and North Africa were part of the job.

A move to Canada followed when Phil married his wife and life partner, Laurie, and they have two sons. All four hold pilot's licenses! Both sons continue the tradition of serving their country, one as an RCMP officer and the other as a Canadian Air Force pilot.

Phil joined the Canadian Air Force and served as an instructor on the CT114 Tutor in Moose Jaw, then as an Aircraft Commander on the C130 Hercules on 435 Squadron in Edmonton. During this time he kept his aerobatics up doing solo displays in his own Pitts S1S in Canada, as well as rejoining Nigel Lamb for relief stints in the Pitts Team in the U.K., and overseas in Asia.

Phil is currently a Vancouver-based B777 Captain with a major international airline, with whom he has flown for the last 27 years. He has over 23,000 hours of flying time.

His love of biplanes, tailwheels, and radial engines led him to his latest and greatest aerobatic mount, the Pitts Model 12, in which he promises to bring you a show you won't easily forget!


© Phillip Symmans 2018.   Photos by Bob Marsh