Team photo

Taking commercial good practice back to the defence sector

About us

Dave and Nick’s ambition when they established Upturn was to work with a small client base to place associates in challenging positions, with the focus on both client and associate satisfaction.

Upturn is now a specialised, award winning company, recognised by the European Continuing Airworthiness Award sponsored by EASA and the UK CAA as well as the British Ex-Forces in Business Awards. In 2018 Upturn took the step of expanding the company by adding another string to its’ bow: Continuing Airworthiness Services under the name of Upturn CA.

We aim to deliver a personalised service and build strong working relationships while offering:

  • Management connected to performance
  • Value for money and success for clients,
  • A satisfying work experience for associates.

This model has remained the driving ethos within the company.

Who are we

We have an award winning team comprised of a full spectrum of operational and support associates. Trusted conduits between industry and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) with a detailed knowledge of MoD capability model from Force Headquarters to Capability Sponsors.

Our associates are selected due to their expertise, experience, recency and ability to deliver against challenging deadlines under pressure. We endeavour maintain a strong network to Board level.

Dave McCormick
Dave McCormick
Nick Lilley
Nick Lilley
Richard Hill
Richard Hill
Sasha Lilley
Sasha Lilley

Aims & Values

Upturn was established with the following aims and values so that we can proactively strive for an effective blend of skills and knowledge to achieve a win-win:


Take a leadership-level accountability for all services to our customers.


Provide a stable, effective and reliable service wherever we commit.


Retain a top team of professionals by making our company a great place to work.


Always provide our services at a “value-for-money” price.


To treat both our clients and our associates with utmost respect and complete fairness.


To always speak the honest truth and challenge the ‘status-quo’.


To maintain our integrity at all times and to protect that of our clients.


Dave McCormick

Dave McCormick had a 31-year career in the Royal Air Force as an aircraft engineer. The highlights of this career were:

  • A 2-year period as the airworthiness, maintenance and logistics commander of an 834-person organisation supporting flying operations at the Trinational Tornado Training Establishment.
  • A 3-year period leading a multi-national support capability evaluation team within NATO.
  • A 2-year period as the Engineering Inspector of Flight Safety for the Royal Air Force.

Thereafter, Dave worked in industry as an airworthiness and safety manager and senior leader with periods as contract managers in commercial and defence aviation support. Subsequently, David was promoted to be safety and compliance director of a major UK aviation operations and engineering company. David’s career as a consultant involved periods in continuing airworthiness services for a UK commercial airline, change management, leadership coaching and compliance assurance for an international prime contractor in the defence aviation market. David’s success was recognised when his initial consulting company, Blue Owl – Support Ltd, was recognised at the UK Business Awards as the Best Airworthiness Management Consultancy 2017 – Europe.

Find Dave McCormick on linkedIn


Nick Lilley

Nick served for 17 years in the military flying rotary and fixed wing aircraft for the British Army then the Royal Air Force.

Nick’s service career finished with programme and capability management work in Headquarters Air Command, which exposed him to the need for focussed strategic leadership to the front-line that delivered for our servicemen and women, as well as value for money support to the Ministry of Defence.

On leaving the military, Nick initially worked as a consultant programme manager where he gained a track record of successful delivery in commercial and operational scenarios across the MoD and Industry, but found that his values were not supported by his consultancy agency, and therefore Nick founded Upturn with Dave.

Upturn CA, Head of Operations

Richard Hill

A highly motivated and experienced senior operations leader with over 30 years of industry experience, exceptional interpersonal, communication and managerial skills with an appetite for delivering on commitments. Capable of leading diverse teams and delivering corporate and personal objectives demonstrated by a proven record within the dynamic environment of airline, airworthiness, maintenance, repair and overhaul. Demonstrating a terrific work ethic and positive attitude, Richard leads by example, fits in well with any team and strives to improve own/team performance through a combination of strategy, direction, collaborative working, empowerment and creating the right environment that uses coaching and mentoring to bring out the best in people.

  • Highly knowledgeable on regulations and standards associated with the aerospace sector in both civil and military arenas.
  • Previous roles have included post-holder positions for EASA Part-145, EASA Part-M (CAM and ARC Signatory), MAA Mil-145 and CFAOS Continuing Airworthiness.

Head of Commercial and Finance

Sasha Lilley

Sasha Lilley had a 12-year career in the Royal Air Force as a Personnel Support Officer. The highlights of this career were:

  • A 2-year period as the Head of the Programme Management Office and Risk Manager for a commercial transformation and capability programme in the order of £80M that was scrutinised at Cabinet Office level.
  • A 2.5-year period as the Visits Officer for the Chief of the Air Staff, planning and delivering Ministerial level visits and meetings across the Ministry of Defence.

Thereafter, Sasha worked in industry as a commercial and risk management consultant within both the commercial and defence aviation industry before commencing her current role as Head of Commercial and Finance for Upturn Ltd and Upturn CA Ltd.