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Meet the Team

Pilots

Derek Hammond

President | Director of Flight Ops

Derek has been around aviation his entire life. Introduced to flying by his Father and Grand-Father, Rick and Chum Hammond, when he was young in the family Aztec and Cardinal. He flew solo before he could drive; and had his pilot's licence at 16. After university he started work at Flite Line Services and Hammond Aviation and now oversees the operations and expansion of the family businesses in Kitchener and London; with his family. He has been involved since day one in getting our aircraft in the air. His first flight in the T33 came in 2010 and in 2014, after four years of restorations, he flew the first flight of our Vampire. He is currently an active pilot on our T33 and Vampire.

Ray Thwaites

Chief Pilot

Ray holds an Airline Transport licence with an accomplished 31 year career with major Canadian, Mainline and Charter Airlines. Ray's career in flying has seen him fly everything from DC 3, Convair 580, Boeing 727, DC 8, L1011, Airbus 320, Boeing 757-767, and more! Ray is also a partner in Piper Sales, maintenance, leaseback, rental and Charter Co..

From 2009 to present, Ray is a Contract Flight Instructor and Transport Canada Validator on the Boeing 767.

Richard Cooper

Safety Pilot

Richard is a business leader and entrepreneur. His business success covers a broad range of initiatives and he plays a very active and strong role in his community. He volunteers at schools and for several non-profit organizations in leadership positions. He is married to Marilyn and they have four children between them. Richard started flying in 1972, received a private, fixed wing licence in 1973 and a commercial, fixed wing licence in 1978. In 1986, he got a private helicopter licence and a commercial licence in 1989. He started a helicopter company that operated 7 helicopters and flew helicopters commercially in Canada and St. Lucia. Currently he has over 5000 hours in helicopters and fixed wing aircraft, has an IFR license, and owns and operates 2 soviet military jets, an L-29 Delfin, a MiG15, and a Bell 222B twin-engine helicopter. In 2009, Richard trained for and achieved an ACE card; and flies in Air Shows across Canada and the US.

Peter Stewart

Vampire Pilot

Peter has been with Waterloo Warbirds for two years as the pilot on our Vampire jet; and brings an extensive background in flying WWII aircraft to the group.

Flying has been a big part of his life from a very young age, flying with his dad, a WWII veteran who flew a Mosquito. Following in his father's footsteps, he learned to fly as a teenager. Afterwards, he went on to fly agricultural aircraft for many seasons, and flew on the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources fire program in birddog and detection aircraft roles. Along with flying a Harvard, Stearman, Chipmunk and Norseman, at Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum over the years, Peter also flies his own Cessna float plane and de Havilland Tiger Moth.

Chief Aircraft Maintenance Engineer

Andrej Janik

Chief AME

Bio coming soon!

Health & Safety Officer

Jenna Hammond

Health & Safety

Bio coming soon!

Health & Safety Training Officer

Alan Robson

Health & Safety Trainer

Bio coming soon!

Team Coordinator

Ramona Ostrander

Team Coordinator | Flight Coordinator | Tourism Liaison

Her early years were spent watching planes, on top of the parking garage at Pearson Airport; insisting it was better than any park! At 22, aviation was beyond reach, and her career began as Event Producer, Corporate Liaison Officer and Youth Program Manager for a nationwide retailer. It brought diverse experience from writing a weekly column for the Toronto Star, in-store, community and global events, liaison to foreign dignataries, city officials, professional athletes and celebrities; to mentoring youth in the community and public speaking.

Recruited to build successful start-ups in various industries, she was inspired to run her own business for a decade. Business and youth led her into executive, volunteer roles in Junior Achievement, Chamber of Commerce, Business Enterprise Centre, community groups, The Co-operators Community Advisory Board; and being an adjudicator for government funding of small business. Currently a REALTOR, she was recognized as a community leader and awarded the YMCA-YWCA Woman of Distinction Award for Business, Entrepreneurialism and the Trades. Waterloo Warbirds affords Ramona the chance to re-ignite her passion for aviation and history, continue learning, demonstrate that aviation is open to all; and enjoy the sweet sounds of roaring jet engines.

Flight and Operations Crew

Al Clark

Crew Chief | Ground Crew Safety Coordinator

As a boy, Al was fascinated with airplanes like a lot of young boys. He made models and hung them from his bedroom ceiling in various dioramas (Getting shot down etc…).

After he could drive he would attend every airshow he could.

When a local Museum started up in London, he jumped at the chance to join. When Waterloo Warbirds became its own organization, Al was invited along to form the original crew of Waterloo Warbirds. In the few years since then, he has led numerous achievements with the team; and has developed a great crew. He has flown in jet aircraft, attended shows across Canada and the US; and forged a bond with other like-minded individuals that as a young boy, he could only dream about. Full circle.

He feels incredibly lucky to be in this position. And, sees the sky as the limit for us….

Steve Blackwell

Deputy Crew Chief | Ground Crew Safety Coordinator | Communications Coordinator

Growing up under the approach path of the local airport, Steve's love for aviation started at a very young age. At only 13 years old, his first introductory flight in a Cessna only solidified that passion. A seasoned CRM developer and business analyst by day, Steve's heart is always at the airport, where much time outside of the office is spent focusing on his work at Waterloo Warbirds. Having been around since Waterloo Warbirds was nothing more than idea, he enjoys wearing many hats and watching the tremendous growth of the organization over the years!

You'll find Steve on the ground crew, turning wrenches in the hangar, maybe with a camera in his hands, and frequently hiding behind the glow of a laptop late at night making sure all of our online, social media, and IT systems are humming away. Steve recognizes only two seasons in Canada: "Airshow Season" and "Not Airshow Season", and still tells people it's merely a coincidence that his own home has also ended up so close to an airport approach path too.

Matt Keast

Ground Crew | Restoration Crew

Waterloo Warbirds has offered Matt a great opportunity over the years to expand on his skills in aircraft maintenance and operations. He is excited to be a part of taking this great organization to new heights! He had his first flight in an airplane when he was 12; and joined the Air Cadet’s a few years later. His passion for aviation and jet aircraft was fused when he first attended the London International Airshow in the early 1980’s; and watched the CF-101 Voodoo take to the air, a moment he will never forget.

Doug Sheppard

Ground Crew | Ramp Safety Officer | Newsletter Coordinator | Restoration Crew

Doug Sheppard joined Waterloo Warbirds in 2017, after retiring from a 35 year career with the Waterloo Regional Police Service. Doug retired as an Inspector, and enjoyed various command positions during his years of service. He was awarded a Certified Municipal Manager designation by the Ontario Municipal Managers Institute and joined Conestoga College, where he instructs in the Police Foundations program. Doug is also a member of the Waterloo Westvale Optimist Club and a life member of Kitchener Waterloo Musical Productions, however always harboured a secret desire to be involved in aviation, having a life-long love of aircraft. Doug is grateful for the opportunity presented by the Waterloo Warbirds and thoroughly enjoys the “hands on” aspects of ground crew and maintenance of the classic jet aircraft operated by the group.

John Drummond

Pax Crew | Restoration Crew

John’s love of aviation started as a young boy when he boarded a British Airways 747 when immigrating to Canada from Scotland in 1974. He is working towards his Private Pilot’s License. In addition to aviation, John is also an amateur photographer and always has several cameras on hand. To fund his flight training and photography, John is a Patrol Sergeant with a large GTA police service. He is committed to volunteering and giving back as is evident here at WW, and in his roles on the Board of Directors of Cambridge Telecare Distress Center as well as with the Cambridge Tour De Grand Community Bike Ride.

Krystin Scheels

Pax Crew | Media Team | Graphics | Content Curator

Bio coming soon!

Mitch Waters

Media - PR - Sales Support

Bio coming soon!

Steve Zago

Veteran Interview Coordinator | Pax Crew | Media Team

Steve joined the team in the spring of 2017, he brings with him over 20 years of aviation experience. Steve joined the Canadian Army as a reservist at the age of 17 but he had aviation in his blood after growing up listening to stories of his grandfather’s exploits as a pilot in World War II. He began flight training at the age of 18 and was working as a bush pilot in the North West Territories by age 20. Steve’s career has given him varied flying experience on several aircraft types all over the globe and every province in Canada, he is currently acting as a Airbus A-321 Captain for a major Canadian Airline.

Ambassadors

Ken Mist

Ambassador

Glenn Wray

Ambassador

Chris Begemann

Ambassador

Paul Cleve

Ambassador