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Mike Hirst is an operations specialist and a qualified aeronautical engineer in aircraft and systems design and operations, involved initially in air traffic control, then in the flight trials and analysis of AFCS and automatic landing systems for civil aircraft, and advanced flight controls and weapons systems for multi-role military aircraft. For many years was a Private Pilots License holder, and for three years was with Flight magazine, becoming technical editor in 1978.

Subsequently he was systems integrator for avionics through the project stage of the BAE Experimental Aircraft Programme (EAP), before turning to academic work at Cranfield. He taught avionics and operations technology to air transport engineering and management MSc students for 8 years, and undertook Air Traffic Management (ATM) research. In 1991-92 he led the man-machine interface design team that developed a common workstation design for all ATC operations at the NATS en-route centre at Swanwick.

He managed the establishment of collaborative programmes between BAE and Loughborough University, serving as Education Manager handling systems education in numerous UK universities with a full time student population of 200, then as a company international education specialist, and working on collaborative education programmes in Malaysia and South Africa.

For 20 years, up to its abandonment, he contributed to the annual RAeS Oxford Air Transport Course, and was technical specialist on the organising committee for most of those years, He also provided programme development, and contributed largely technical and operations presentations, to RAeS managed overseas courses that were held in the Mediterranean, and East Africa and South Africa.

For the last decade he has been Course tutor for the MSc Airport Planning and management programme, at Loughborough University, and a Senior Consultant in Airport Planning and Development (APD). In the later role he has completed world wide assignments at airports, The scale of assignments has ranged from due diligence assessments for facility investors, to in-situ training of operations specialists, and locations have been as diverse as the Sahara Desert, amongst the Swiss Alps and the Maldives.

In October 2009 he published The Air Transport System. This textbook is a comprehensive review of aircraft, airline, airport and airspace elements, and its unique quality is that it presents all elements according to commonly-shared viewpoints, opening the way to link each stakeholder’s perspectives with those of others. Also in this book, he has outlined his experience with, and future vision for, computer-based training aids to support knowledge and skills development objectives in civil aviation education programmes.

He is a senior associate and consultant at ACG-UK and has been contributor to airport development projects, to ATM programs, and has been engaged to contribute technical service components to the forthcoming 3rd Edition of ‘Airport Operations,’ under the editorship of Prof Norman Ashford.

He has been a visiting lecturer and examiner at numerous universities in the UK, and in North America.

He has a Bachelor of Technology degree in Aeronautical Engineering & Design from Loughborough University.