Matt Lindley

Founder & CEO of Propel Performance


TEDx Speaker


Matt Lindley is an airline and ex RAF Royal Squadron Pilot. He shares his story of being one of the first openly gay pilots in the armed forces, a story of self-motivation, determination and drive which led to his dream of joining the RAF fulfilled.

In1995 Matt was selected to join the UK Royal Air Force as a pilot. During his military career, he flew many aircraft including the Hawk fighter jet. In 2000 he was selected to fly Her Majesty The Queen, members of the UK Royal Family and Government worldwide, serving on The Royal Squadron. Whilst serving, he became a qualified flying instructor and VIP qualified Captain. He flew missions in the Sierra Leone, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. Matt was one of the first openly gay pilots in the RAF.

In 2007 Matt left the Service to join a leading UK airline, initially flying the Airbus on their short haul network. Matt now flies the Boeing 777 on long haul routes.

In addition to flying, Matt specializes in non-technical training. He delivers Human Performance Factors keynote speeches and workshops which draw on flight management techniques to optimize outcomes, whilst minimizing human error in the workplace.

  • Mental Health
  • Resilience - how to weather the storm
  • Being your authentic self
  • Stress and workplace performance
  • How to be an inclusive leader
  • Trust - building a psychologically safe place
  • The importance of allies
  • Culture change
  • Emotional intelligence and empathy
  • Workplace banter
Speaking and Workshop Topics


Airline and former Royal Air Force pilot Matt Lindley talks candidly about being one of the first openly gay pilots in the UK Armed Forces. Listen to his journey of having a childhood dream to fly, almost crushed by a ban on gay personnel serving in the Forces. Matt describes how he consciously suppressed his sexuality and joined an organization knowing that being 'out' could have resulted in a possible prison sentence. His story is one of self-motivation, determination, and drive. Matt fulfilled a boyhood dream and qualified as a Hawk fighter jet pilot. Soon after qualifying however, high workload, geographical and emotional isolation, together with the work place banter associated with a non-inclusive culture, resulted in a catastrophic mistake at work.

Matt shares with the audience how a line manager transformed his professional and private life by demonstrating exceptional inclusive leadership, support and trust

But this is not just another 'coming out story', instead Matt uses his experience to discuss how the RAF positively adapted its culture from one of open hostility towards gay personnel, to acceptance and support.

“I cannot recommend Matt highly enough. He talked to the Close Brothers community about his journey and it resonated incredibly well with all colleagues, not just those from the LQBQT community. His candour and honesty really connected with people, and the ties with wider mental wellness and resilience were incredibly topical given the current pandemic. His humour shone through and it was one of the best received external speakers we have had to date. A thorough recommendation…”

Martyn, Atkinson Group, Chief Operating Officer

"It was brilliant – he was great, super engaging and people were hanging on his every word, even on Zoom! Have had some great feedback already, so we are really pleased."

Charlotte, Vice President, Operations Control Management, J.P.

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