Meet the Team!


Derek Hammond

President | Director of Flight Ops

Derek has been around aviation his entire life. He was introduced to flying by his father and grandfather, 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 license at 16. After university, he started work at Flite Line Services and Hammond Aviation, and now works with his family to oversee the operation and expansion of the family businesses in Kitchener and London. He has been involved in getting our aircraft in the air since day one. His first flight in the T33 came in 2010 and in 2014, after four years of restorations, he flew the first flight in our Vampire. He is currently an active pilot on our T33 and Vampire.

Read our Meet the Team interview with Derek!

Ray Thwaites

Chief Pilot

Ray holds an Airline Transport licence and has had an accomplished 31 year career with major Canadian mainline and charter airlines. Ray’s career in flying has seen him fly everything from a 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.

Since 2009, Ray has been a Contract Flight Instructor and Transport Canada Validator on the Boeing 767.

Read our Meet the Team interview with Ray!

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 his private fixed wing license in 1973, and his commercial fixed wing license in 1978. In 1986, he got a private helicopter license, followed by a commercial license in 1989. He then started a helicopter company that operated 7 helicopters and flew helicopters commercially in Canada and St. Lucia. Currently, he has over 5,000 hours in helicopters and fixed wing aircraft, has an IFR license, and owns and operates a Bell 222B twin-engine helicopter along with two soviet military jets – an L-29 Delfin and a MiG-15. 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 is the pilot of our Vampire and brings an extensive background in flying WWII aircraft to the group. Flying has been a big part of Peter’s life from a very young age when he would fly 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 the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum over the years, Peter also flies his own Cessna float plane and de Havilland Tiger Moth.

Liam Pearson

Harvard Pilot

Growing up in Hamilton, Ontario, Liam became interested in aviation at an early age with a visit to the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. Completing his pilot’s license during high school, he then continued his training at Sault College, where he graduated from the Aviation Technology program.

Since then, Liam has flown a variety of vintage aircraft in both display and training roles. He has a diverse background in flight training and maintains a Class 1 Flight Instructor rating as well as Aerobatic Instructor rating. Liam holds an Airline Transport Pilots License with endorsements on both turboprop and jet aircraft, and currently works for a major Canadian airline.

Team Coordinator

Doug Sheppard

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

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, he 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 Waterloo Warbirds and thoroughly enjoys the “hands on” aspects of ground crew and maintenance of the classic jet aircraft operated by the group.

Flight and Operations Crew

Al Clark

Crew Chief | Ground Crew Safety Coordinator

As a young boy, Al was fascinated with airplanes. He often made models and hung them from his bedroom ceiling in various dioramas (flying in formation, getting shot down, etc.). After he could drive, he began attending every air show he could.

When a local museum started up in London, he jumped at the chance to join. After meeting some of Waterloo Warbirds’ founding members through the museum, Al was invited to form the original crew when Waterloo Warbirds became its own organization in 2014. In the years since, 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.

Al feels incredibly lucky to be in this position and sees the sky as the limit for us.

Read our Meet the Team interview with Al!

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.

Read our Meet the Team interview with Steve!

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 now 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 through his role at Waterloo Warbirds, and 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 | Graphic Design | Content Curator

Krystin first became interested in aviation during a unit on the Avro Arrow in a high school history class; however, her passion really took off years later when she started attending air shows and developed an appreciation for the breadth of the aviation community. A marketing and communications professional by day, Krystin’s goal is to leverage those skills to give an inside look at Waterloo Warbirds to our local community and broader community of aviation enthusiasts. She is passionate about helping others develop the broad perspective that helped build her love of aviation, and to appreciate all the opportunities aviation has to offer anyone who’s interested, both inside and outside the cockpit.

While she can most often be found behind a phone, laptop, or camera creating content to share with our audience, Krystin also enjoys being part of our pax team, helping to make your flight with us one of the best experiences of your life! She also loves getting hands-on with the jets doing, as she puts it, “whatever I can that won’t break something.”

Steve Zago

Training Coordinator | Veteran Interview Coordinator | Pax Crew | Media Team

Steve joined the team in the spring of 2017, bringing with him over 20 years of aviation experience. Steve joined the Canadian Armed Forces 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 Northwest 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 an Airbus A-321 Captain for a major Canadian airline.

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 1980s and watched the CF-101 Voodoo take to the air, a moment he will never forget.

Paul Cleve

Ground Crew

Paul started into aviation at the age of 14 flying ultralites before getting his private pilot license at 19. While going to college for aircraft maintenance, he served in the Canadian Forces Air Reserve working on T-33 No. 577 (our Mako Shark!) when it was in active service. A volunteer since 2016, he now continues to work on it as well as other warbirds. He is currently retired after 20 years of firefighting and is grateful to be able to spend time back in the aviation field.

Chris Jansen

Ground Crew

Chris has been working in aviation for 25 years as an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer. He has always had a love for aircraft for as long as he can remember. When he was a teen, he joined Air Cadets and had a high school co-op placement at CFB Borden at the CFSATE training facility, where he learned a little bit about the Tudor CT-114. This was the foundation of his career.

Chris has worked in general aviation, on business jets, and on transport aircraft. He has also had the pleasure to work for Bombardier in the Q-Series Technical Support and In-Service Engineering team. For the last 2 years, he has taught Dash 8-400 maintainers as a technical instructor. Chris enjoys being a part of our ground crew and ensuring the aircraft that we operate are serviced for safe flight. It’s rewarding to see the smiles of the passengers when they return from the rides of their lives!

David Shaw

Ground Crew

David retired in February, 2021 after a 43 year career as an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer. He is married to Sherra Lee and between them they have four daughters, two son-in-laws, two granddaughters, and one dog named Barney.

David’s airline career started with Nordair in Montreal which allowed him to work in remote locations on the Dewline in Canada’s arctic, and Ice Patrol on Canada’s east coast and arctic.

Throughout his years with the airlines, David has worked on most types of Boeing and Airbus aircraft flying with the world’s major airlines.

Shawn Purcell

Ground Crew

Shawn retired in Feb 2022 from 40 plus years in the vehicle industry as an automotive technician, the
last 25 years as a Master Class technician with Hybrid certification.

For three years, Shawn participated in the Ride to Conquer Cancer with thousands of other volunteers
to raise money for cancer research. He joined the Waterloo Warbirds in Aug 2022 and has a lifelong
interest in aviation, especially military aircraft. He has spent time attending numerous air shows and
dragging his wife of 42 years to air museums across the continent. Shawn was fortunate enough to be in
Florida to witness the final landing of the space shuttle Discovery on its last mission back to earth before
its journey to the Smithsonian in Washington.

He has recently contributed to prepping planes for their annual inspections under the guidance of Paul
Cleve. He looks forward to some future restoration work with the Warbirds as well as participating as a
Ground Crew member, making clients flights safe and enjoyable.

Em Fabry

Passenger Coordinator

Bio coming soon!

Health and Safety

Alan Robson

Health and Safety Trainer

Bio coming soon!


Ken Mist


Glen Wray


Chris Begemann


Dawson Hagens


Ramona Ostrander