‘Spacious and efficient’ … a vintage plane is operated by private-jet services firm NetJets. Photograph: Craig Frisby
Jake Turpin and Ella Parry are an unlikely couple, married and pilots. But their romance was sparked in 2013 when the two met while Turpin was on his final flight of a day from the US to England with his wife.
After starting their new job as pilots in 2016, Turpin, 33, was looking for a gift for his soon-to-be-wife. He wrote: “We planned to fly for a friend a week before we had our wedding, so I thought it would be a nice surprise.”
They swapped emails back and forth, but one day “while Ella was driving”, Turpin posted a photo of them smiling in the cockpit. “She liked it and texted a long message about it. I thought, ‘That’s interesting, how did we find each other?’”
The couple eventually found each other through their jobs: Turpin worked for private-jet services firm NetJets. Parry, 29, works for Quantum Air, a rural airline that uses private jets on rural routes. Parry, a bit of a nomad, flew hundreds of times from Devon to London to and from Newcastle to Bournemouth. Turpin never planned to work with private jets, he says. “I found the job through old school networking,” he says. “What was ironic was that I ended up doing a route they use frequently. And the fact that I like flying to and from London.”
The two had started dating before their first date, he says. “She was crazy about me. I really enjoyed meeting her and having been with her for years, it had become something we did because of work. It has been a whirlwind romance.”
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“Her parents knew I had worked with private jets since about 2011,” Turpin says. “I still tell them I work for a country called the Republic of Zambia that’s under civil rule with paramilitary forces of the Congolese.”
The chance meeting in 2013 cemented their romance when Turpin made the initial suggestion of a trip up to New York by plane. “She said, ‘OK. What time is our flight?’ It turned out to be really lovely; there was very little talk about work, more about the planet, the outdoors,” he says.
After that, Turpin wrote another email the following month and sent photos of both of them in the cockpit. A few days later, Parry texted: “I’ve landed at JFK.”
“I said, ‘What are you doing?’” And Parry replied, “We’re in this plane, jesus christ.”