The Immediate Past Master

Captain Jonathan Legat

For Jonathan, his first visit to Heathrow, as a very small boy, was the day he announced: “I am going to be a pilot”. In that brief encounter he’d got the bug; nothing deviated him from that goal and he has now been flying for over 50 years.

At school Jonathan was something of a runner, competing in the English Schools’ Cross-Country Championship at the age of 16 and became Captain of the school Cross Country team, and in athletics won the Surrey Schools 800m, a few years before Seb Coe, also finding time to found the school Tennis Team. With the school choir he performed Bach’s St. Matthew Passion in St. Paul’s Cathedral and St. John Passion in Chichester Cathedral and many other choral services at St. John’s College Cambridge, and Canterbury Cathedral. He won Cadet of the Year in the Proficiency A tests, learnt the fife and bugle in the Corps of Drums and in his final year at school was Drum Major. Through the CCF he was awarded a Royal Naval Flying Scholarship and after A-levels finished his PPL at Roborough. Jonathan then flew privately at Biggin Hill, until he started his cadetship at The College of Air Training, Hamble.

Upon graduation there were no flying jobs with British Airways so somewhat reluctantly he accepted their suggestion of becoming Cabin Crew. Following six very instructive months in the ‘back end’, in quick succession he found a job on an Aztec at Hull and then a Fanjet 500 Citation at Heathrow as FO with IDS Fanjets. Jonathan says his only real (rather tenuous) claim to fame was when George Harrison, yes, the George Harrison, asked him for his autograph.

A year and a half later Jonathan moved to the fledgling Air Europe on the B737. The training was completed at Boeing, Seattle, where he had the unique opportunity of seeing their first aircraft being built. Back in the home base of Gatwick Jonathan was soon given the task of teaching new joiners the Company’s Flight Deck Management and Checklist philosophy. Jonathan enjoyed six and a half years flying around Europe before moving to Hong Kong with join Cathay Pacific on the ‘classic’.

After four years in the right seat he completed his Command course; three years later, he transferred to the B744 and was soon promoted to Training Captain.  Jonathan spent a year as Deputy Flying Training Manager B744, then four years as Deputy Chief Pilot (Boeing), which covered both the B744 and B777, and promotion to Senior Training Captain. On returning to the line, he continued as a Management Check Captain and member of both the Standards and CQP teams.

After nearly 25 years in Hong Kong, he returned to the UK, still with Cathay, based at his beloved Heathrow, and with over 27 years on the jumbo under his belt he transferred to the B777 as Training Captain.

He retired from professional flying at the beginning of 2018 having flown almost 25,000 hours.

In 2021, still suffering from the flying bug, he took to the air again, this time in a Fuji FA200. He subsequently gained an SEP rating, something which didn’t exist last time he flew a light aircraft, a share in the Fuji, and participated in several of the Air Pilots Flying Club fly-ins.

Jonathan joined GAPAN 20 years ago and took Livery in 2014; he was elected to the Court as an Assistant in 2015 and re-elected in 2018. For three years he was Chairman of the Aviation Careers and Education Committee, and represented the Company in the Livery Schools Link. He is currently on the committee of the Air Pilots’ Flying Club.

Jonathan and his wife, Dominique, live in a small village near Winchester, they have a daughter, who works in Corporate Intelligence (she must get it from her mother!), a cat from France and around 30,000 bees. His hobbies include skiing, (for some years he was a Rep and Party Leader for the Ski Club of Great Britain and later completed the instructors course with the British Association of Ski Instructors), cycling, riding his motorbike. He plays flute (quite well) and saxophone (badly) and particularly enjoys watching Formula 1, rugby and cricket.