Quentin Smith

Bre­itling Ad­ven­ture Talk

Esquire (UK) - - Esquire Townhouse with Dior -

Aka “Cap­tain Q”, Smith is a full-time he­li­copter pi­lot and ex­plorer. Q holds a Guin­ness World Record for the first per­son to fly to both the North and South Poles by he­li­copter, and has twice been he­li­copter aer­o­bat­ics world cham­pion. His quest is to fly any­where no other he­li­copter pi­lot has been, which has re­sulted in two ma­jor crashes

Do you ever get scared?

“Don’t hand­i­cap your­self in any way by wor­ry­ing about death.

That doesn’t mean de­lib­er­ately do dan­ger­ous things. Don’t be silly with it, try and do it well but don’t hold back. The most dan­ger­ous thing you can do is not live.”

Speak­ing of death, you had a crash ear­lier this year. What hap­pened?

“Just on the ap­proach [near Ber­gen, Nor­way], some­thing blew up into the ro­tor, broke some­thing. In six sec­onds we were in the wa­ter.”

Sounds painful...

“It’s quite vi­o­lent on your body, and the hy­draulic sys­tem is over­whelmed, so the con­trols go absolutely rock solid and they’re very, very hard to move. You could call it a nar­row escape.”

It wasn’t the first time you ditched, was it?

“No. The first time was in the Drake Pas­sage in the South At­lantic near Antarc­tica — fa­mously known as the ‘rough­est sea in the world’ with one-de­gree Centi­grade wa­ter. We had 20 sec­onds un­til we hit the wa­ter. Sud­denly, I was sit­ting in a dinghy in the ocean.”

How did you escape?

“I sig­nalled with my 1215 VHF Bre­itling Emer­gency watch. You can twist the knob, pull it and out comes an an­tenna. The newer ver­sion is even clev­erer — with 406 mega­hertz that’s de­tected by satel­lite. A Chilean icebreaker came and found us.”

Quentin ‘Cap­tain Q’ Smith en­ter­tained with tales of ad­ven­ture and

aerial der­ring-do

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