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Meet the Team


Derek Hammond

President / Director of Flight Ops

Derek has been around aviation his whole 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 is pilots licence at 16. After university he started work at Flite Line and Hammond Aviation where he still works today in Kitchener with his family. His has been involved since day one in getting our aircraft in the air. His first flight in the T33 being in 2010 and in 2014 after four years of work he flew the first flight of our Vampire. He is currently an active pilot on our T33 and Vampire.

Ray Thwaits

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 an business leader and entrepreneur. His business successes cover across 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 in 1989. He started a helicopter company that operated 7 helicopters and he 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, a Mig15, and a Bell 222B twin-engine helicopter. In 2009, Richard trained for and achieved an ACE card and flies in Air Shows in 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. 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, Tiger Moth, 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!

Team Coordinator

Ramona Ostrander

Team Coordinator Extraordinaire

Bio coming soon!

Flight and Operations Crew

Al Clark

Crew Chief / Ground Crew Safety Coordinator

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

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

When a local Museum started up in London, I jumped at the chance to be part. When Waterloo Warbirds became its own organization, I was invited along to form part of the nucleus of what became Waterloo Warbirds. In the few years since we have achieved many things and have really formed a great group of people. I have experienced flight in a jet aircraft, been to many airshows as a crew member and forged a bond with other likeminded individuals that as a young boy could only dream about. Full circle.

Im incredibly lucky to be in this position. The sky is the limit for us….

Steve Blackwell

Deputy Crew Chief / Ground Crew Safety Coordinator / Website & Media 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.

Steve Zago

Ground Crew / Pax Crew / Promo Crew / Website & Media Crew

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.

Matt Keast

Ground Crew

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

Chris Begemann

Ground Crew

My passion for aviation began at a young age, where I would make paper airplanes and fly them around the house. I progressed to wood model airplanes and joined a local model aircraft flying club which built the foundation for my career in aviation. At the age of 15, I was fortunate enough to solo a 2 seat glider which developed my skills in soaring and cross country flying. I am a cadet at 822 Tutor Squadron where I share my passion for aviation with younger cadets. I joined the Waterloo Warbirds team as Ground Crew to help restore and preserve vintage jets as well as honour the legacy of those who served.

Doug Sheppard

Ground Crew / Safety Officer / Membership & Newsletter Coordinator / Promo 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 / Promo Crew / Detail Crew

John is going into his second season with Waterloo Warbirds. He is currently assigned as a Passenger Coordinator and to the Promo Team. 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 currently 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. In addition to volunteering at WW, John has also been on the Board of Directors of Cambridge Telecare Distress Center and is a volunteer with the Cambridge Tour De Grand Community Bike Ride.

Glenn Wray

Ground Crew

As a active member of restoration and ground crew A passion that has grown from childhood from building plastic models and balsa free flight airplanes to attending airshows leading to joining and entering plastic model competitions with IPMS and progressing to many types of remote control aircraft. Highlighting my interest in aviation led me volunteering with organizations and be part of the team at Waterloo Warbirds in 2014 to help restore vintage jet aircraft to flying status and preserve the heritage of the woman and men that built, maintain and fly these aircraft. Having the opportunity to have this experience with the team and ability to fly in these aircraft fills a childhood dream.

Paul Cleve

Ground Crew

Bio coming soon!

Ken Mist

Pax Crew / Detail Crew

After 40 years in the Logistics industry, Ken retired to his life-long love of aviation. He is a member of a number of organizations and, in addition to his time with Waterloo Warbirds, is a volunteer with the Commemorative Air Force Red Tail Squadron traveling North American telling the story of the Tuskegee Airmen as an inspiration to the youth of today. Never without at least one camera, Ken is a an avid aviation photographer. He lives in Woodstock with his wife Jan who is very used to being an air show widow every summer and two fat old cats.