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Part I – In A Galaxy Far Far Away

February 10, 2021 Insurance No Comments is one of the leading travel insurance market places in the US. Founded by serial entrepreneur Jonathan Breeze, a former Royal Air Force pilot.

Over the coming weeks Breeze will dive into some of the challenges faced bringing the company to life, growing the operation and survival lessons learnt during the Covid19 pandemic.

Before we run headlong into the creation of, or it’s endearing blue Aardvark logo, or indeed its old-school discipline of providing exceptional customer service that has earnt AARDY one of the highest TrustPilot ratings possible, we must go back a little, to a simpler time long before the internet was created.

As a young boy visiting air displays with family in England, Breeze had found his calling. Having watched in awe as the Royal Air Force aerobatic display team ‘The Red Arrows’ streaked across the skies in their Hawk fighters, with thousands of spectators below mesmerized at the precision, discipline and bravery of these super-human pilots, there was only one career path young Breeze wanted. He turned to his parents and said “That’s what I want to do”.  No doubt a wish uttered by hundreds of young boys that very same summers day, but for Breeze this would become a reality.

At age 16, whilst still at school, Breeze was invited by the RAF to study for his private pilot’s licence. After an intensive study period on land and air, Breeze took to the skies flying solo in a Cessna and past the flying aspect of the course with ease. The final part of the examination was the navigation exam which was to occur a few weeks later at another facility in the UK. This part of the exam was very nearly Breeze’s undoing and could so easily have put an end to a promising flying career.

In a time before GPS and google maps, the navigation part of the course occurred at an assessment center around a 2 hour drive from Breeze’s home. He set off in his car with his trusty A-Z map of the United Kingdom, but somehow failed to find the center where the navigation exam was due to take place. The irony not lost on the young man, being unable to navigate to the navigation exam location. Fearing his dream of flying for the RAF was over he returned home, a despondent figure.

“I was a young man, without many of the life experiences we need to call on at desperate times to pick ourselves up and carry on. That day, driving home from the navigation exam, my RAF career in tatters, is one that lives on in me.”

Having returned home in despair, Breeze picked up the phone with the intention of speaking to the examiner and apologising for having missed the test, but before he could start muttering his apologies, the instructor himself apologised to Breeze for having been called away at short notice. He too had missed the exam and was completely unaware that Breeze hadn’t been sat waiting for him!

“Sometimes the stars align and sometimes they don’t. On this occasion I was lucky and someone was looking out for me. I was able to reschedule the navigation exam which I passed with flying colours. I was 17 and the proud owner of my private pilot’s licence.”

A year later at the end of 18, Breeze left home to join the Royal Air Force and undertake their gruelling Initial Officer Training programme at the Royal Air Force College Cranwell, in the United Kingdom. After a year of immense physical and personal challenges, Breeze passed out of RAF Cranwell as a Pilot Officer. Next came flight training on the same Hawk fighter that had so inspired him all those years before.

Part II – Through Adversity To The Stars – to follow next week.

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