Candidate Profile

Air & Sea Safety Investigations
Captain Chris Rigby was trained by BOAC in the early 70’s but due to overstaffing he left to join initially Cyprus Airways and then Britannia Airways at Birmingham. It was with Britannia that he gained his command at the age of 27, one of the youngest jet captains in the UK at that time. After leaving Britannia and period of freelance work including corporate flying for Chris De Burgh, Nigel Mansell and other celebrities, he joined easyJet at its start up in Luton.

Four years later he moved back to British Airways at Birmingham and then 4 years after that back to Britannia Airways, now renamed Thomsonfly at Coventry Airport and was acting fleet manager during their start up. After Thomsons pulled out of Coventry, Chris joined Ryanair, based at Birmingham until he retired at the age of 60.

Chris amassed over 23,000 flight hours on commercial jets including over 20,000 hrs. as captain. He retired in 2011 and now runs a simulator facility, open to the public, at Coventry Airport. Flight Simulators Midlands has several jet simulators in which the general public and professional pilots alike, can hone their skills. He also runs regular Fear of Flying courses which have helped many people get airborne and join their cruise ships.

During his travels, Chris has developed a fascination with medieval history. First in the Mediterranean from the crusades to the Knights of St John and Nelson. He is particularly interested in what he calls 'the economics' of history. Everything had to be paid for one way or another. From the building of the pyramids to the castles in North Wales, someone had to raise the money. Chris's interest has now expanded to the slave trade and the Caribbean in particular. His new set of lectures look at people involved with the history of the West Indies from Colubus to Drake to Nelson and several others.

Chris regularly lectures on cruise ships with full venues for 10 years now and offers a range of lectures to do with both aviation and history and has worked with Cunard, P&O, Fred Olsen, RCL and Thomsons.

NEW - "What happened to the MH370?" - Many theories abound about how the Malaysian 777 aircraft apparently disappeared. Captain Chris takes a hard look at the evidence and comes out with a very plausible theory on what actully hppened that night. Don't miss this lecture.

1. "Supersonic Flight"- Captain Chris Rigby takes a look at the history of supersonic flight from Chuck Yeager to Concorde and uncovers some surprising history.
This lecture covers firstly the technical side of the difficulties of supersonic flight in a way that the audience can understand. The history of supersonic flight using actual footage of many aircraft developed during the cold war period including the SR71 (Blackbird), the Valkerie Bomber, and the DH110 which crashed at Farnborough, is followed through to eventually Concorde and what may be in the future.

2. “Concorde – the inside story” - Captain Chris Rigby looks at the political inception and birth of this amazing aeroplane and delves into the problems that beset Concorde up to its final demise. It’s a subject that still fascinates everyone who is interested in aviation and many more who are not. Chris goes into some interesting details that are not often aired in public. It’s not always pretty.

3. "How on Earth Does it Fly"? - Captain Chris Rigby looks at the history of aerodynamics & flight and shows you how a modern day aircraft is controlled by the pilots. In this lecture Chris covers the development of aviation from China to the Wright brothers describing basic aerodynamics in a light hearted fashion. He describes how lift is generated and how that is applied to the building of modern day aircraft. He also takes a look at the phenomenal power of today’s jet engines and how the aircraft are controlled by the pilots.

4. "Come Fly with Me" - Captain Chris Rigby takes you on a flight using actual footage from a recent commercial flight. You are in the flight deck from take-off to landing and Chris will show you what the pilots do on their daily business. You will see how the pilots work together as a team in a well disciplined manner and learn some of the ways in which pilots control their aircraft, ensuring the passengers and crew arrive safely and efficiently.

5. "That'll be £1 For the toilet please Sir" - Captain Chris Rigby takes a tongue in cheek look at the seemingly unstoppable growth of the budget airline industry. This lecture is a light hearted but very interesting look at how the budget airlines have develop dover the years. Chris has worked for both easyJet and Ryanair as well as other companies who have put their toes in the budget water, so he knows the inside track.

6. “On a Dark Dirty Night” - Captain Chris Rigby talks about the weather and how it affects modern day aircraft. How do they find the runway at night in thick fog? Chris shows you actual footage of a ‘blind’ landing. This lecture takes a look at the environment of the pilot of today. Weather affects all of us, but for pilots, it is their working world and Chris describes not only how fog, thunderstorms and many other phenomena develop, but how pilots cope with them in their daily routine even down to a blind automatic landing in thick fog.

7. “The work of the Air Accident Investigation Branch” – Captain Chris Rigby talks about the work of the AAIB and relates that to recent day accidents such as Lockerbie and the Hudson River ditching. Chris selects a few crashes of recent times and goes through the way in which the AAIB was involved with them and the conclusions that were drawn. This is a very interesting lecture and the subjects popularity is demonstrated by how many people watch the Discovery programme ‘Air Crash Investigation’.

8. “Hot Air or Hydrogen” - a look on the development of balloons and airships over the years. From the Montgolfier brothers to the Hindenburg and look at what may lie in the future. Fascinating photographs and video footage of this great adventure in the sky.

9. "Are you frightened of flying"? - Captain Chris Rigby reveals why you feel afraid and how you can manage it. He wouldn't sit at the front if there was any danger! Chris regularly runs Fear of Flying courses at Coventry airport and anyone with this problem is recommended to contact him for details of the next course.

10 "HIJACK" - Chris looks at the history of hijacking or air piracy and takes a closer look at one of the great mysteries in aviation. A real "Who Done it."

11 "From Euravia to TUI" - Captain Chris looks at the fascinating history of the development of the worlds largest charter company, TUI. From its founding back in the 60's as Euravia to it's evolution into first Britannia Airways, then Thomsons and then finally TUI. Chris talks about the founding fathers of the airline, many of whom he knew or flew with. Chris gained his command with Britannia at the age of 27, one of the youngest jet captans in the UK at that time. He looks forward to sharing his experiences with you.

Historical figures of the Caribbean

Captain Chris Rigby is a retired airline pilot and became fascinated by medieval history when based in Malta and read a book about the Knights of St John. Since then his fascination has broadened to the crusades, British naval history and slavery. In these lectures he shares is enthusiasm with the audience and relates his particular passion of the economics of history. As they say – ‘Follow the money’.

1 Columbus and the West Indies - was he Genoese or was he Portuguese? New research suggests the latter. The fact that prior to the first crossing he picked up an experienced Portuguese captain and crew to man his ships, suggests he had solid existing connections in Portugal. His voyages across the Atlantic into the unknown cannot be comprehended in todays Sat Nav world. Captain Chris looks at the background and the voyages he made to the other side of the world.

2 The early years - Francis Drake and Walter Raleigh – The early English adventurers, sent by Queen Elizabeth to enlarge her purse in the Caribbean, brim with swashbuckling stories of their daring and ruthlessness. He days of ‘chivalry’ had not begun and ships crew were paid in results – in the money they had captured from friend and foe alike. If that meant no prisoners – so be it – unless of course they were noblemen who could command a ransom. Captain Chris looks at those early years of dog eat dog in the Caribbean.

3 NELSON & ANTIGUA - Nelson’s story is a fascinating one. None the more so than his time in the Caribbean resulting in the construction of Nelsons Dockyard in 1700’s. The harbour had been used in the late 1600’s but Nelsons arrival signalled a dramatic increase in British naval presence.
Nelson was no stranger to the Caribbean having travelled there serving with a merchant shipping firm on the Mary Ann, a West Indiamen. Captain Chris traces Nelson’s rise to fame; his time in the Caribbean; his sometime scandalous exploits and his eventual death at Trafalgar. A true part of British history.

4 The British and Slavery in the Caribbean - The first westerners to introduce slavery were the Portuguese but the ‘value’ of this trade became quickly apparent to many other nations. The Royal African Company (the RAC) was formed in 1660 by the Royal Stuart family and English merchants and with Charles II’s patronage, quickly established a monopoly over goods from the West Coast of Africa including the slave trade to the Caribbean.
Captain Chris examines how the slave trade worked. How did thousands on ordinary English men and women become slave owners? Where did the money come from and where in the Caribbean were the slaves sent? A fascinating story of greed by every walk of life.

5 Thomas Chochrane - Not many have heard of Thomas Cochrane but they have heard of the film Master and Commander, starring Russell Crow whose exploits were based on some of Cochranes naval actions. Cochrane’s daring was also possibly the source of some of the Hornblower books. From relatively humble beginnings he became one of the most successful and bold captains of the Napoleonic wars; the French nicknamed him “le loup des mers”, or the “sea wolf”. Captain Chris traces his extraordinary career which took him to the West Indies during the Napoleonic wars. In 1805 Cochrane was made commander of the Leeward Islands Station and eventually commanded several of the other Caribbean islands and Bermuda. After being dismissed by the navy in 1814 he became the Vice Admiral of the Chilean navy before being reinstated by the navy in 1832. A fascinating story of a man forgotten by history.

6 The Napoleonic Wars in the Caribbean. – Captain Chris traces the rivalry between the two great naval super powers of the early 19th century, England and France, and how the conflict played out in the Caribbean where some of the fiercest fighting took place. From the battles for the fort in St Kitts to the naval engagements on sea and land, this was a truly epic time in the history of the islands.

Lectured with Cunard, Fred Olsen, P&O, Thomsons for several years. Always have very good audiences and always very complimentary.
The following recent Cruise History has been recorded for this candidate.
Queen Mary 2 M739 Eastbound Transatlantic Crossing 9 New York Friday, October 20, 2017
Queen Mary 2 M627 2016 Big Band Ball Cruise, Westbound Crossing 7 Southampton Saturday, November 19, 2016
Queen Mary 2 M615 The Fjords 12 Hamburg Thursday, August 18, 2016