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About our Peers

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Lucas Fernandes

Captain

After gaining a BSc in Biology I pursued my ambition to become an airline pilot.  I gained a cadet pilot placement with Monarch Airlines and joined Monarch in 2013.  I decided to diversify my flying and I joined AirTanker in 2016.
 
In the summer of 2016 I unfortunately had to process the death of a colleague whilst down route.  It was an overwhelming time in my life that I was not prepared for. Back then I utilised an informal version of peer support with colleagues.  The act of simply talking through life's challenges and have a peer actively listen and empathise, can help you more than you might think. 
 
My motivation for becoming a pilot peer volunteer is to help demystify the perceived social and financial losses for pilots that want to discuss mental health topics and to provide an avenue for confidential support to fellow pilots.  I'm relieved a peer programme has been created and that us peers are further supported by clinical psychologists, should further professional guidance be sought. 
 
John Donne coined the phrase "no man is an island" and this certainly rings true if you've ever shared something that has been troubling you. So, no matter the issue don't hesitate to take the first step and get in touch with us for confidential peer support.

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Jon Ruffe

Captain

I joined the AirTanker family in January 2015 after working at both Monarch and easyJet. Since starting with the company, I have been based with my family in the North Cotswolds, where I enjoy spending time outdoors; mountain biking, walking and running.
 
My motivation for becoming a Pilot Peer is to help colleagues in a time of distress, as I can empathise with the stresses associated with a career in aviation. With two small children, I appreciate the difficulties my colleagues face in trying to maintain a work-life balance, and I have come to understand first-hand the need to prioritise mental wellbeing. I want our company to be a place where we are all happy and thriving, and hope that I can support colleagues in making it so.

Stephen Richards

Stephen Richards

Captain

I’m Steve and I joined AirTanker in 2015 and have been a captain here since 2016. I’ve been flying commercially for 15 years across 5 different companies.

I wanted to be involved in peer support because I’ve seen close family members go through tough times and battle the thoughts that can creep into our heads from time to time. I felt helpless to support them and wanted to do more. Actually I’ve learned through this process that sometimes we just need just to be there to listen, and I mean really listen.

I know in the past I’ve needed to talk more then just “beer talk” in a bar. It would have been great to have this service then. It might only be a phone call and a chat. It might be a few phone calls over a few weeks and months. It might be getting extra help. It really doesn’t matter as long as it helps you in the end. And a chat in the bar over a beer after will always be just that, with no mention of this role whatsoever. Cheers!

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