After national service in the South African Air Force, Ian Pringle migrated to Rhodesia to work as an industrial chemist and flew aircraft as a hobby. He was drafted into the Police Reserve Air Wing as a pilot, and was involved in numerous enemy contacts.
Pringle read his MBA in the UK and worked for Castrol International and BP plc at a senior executive level, spending much of his career in Asia and Europe. He learnt to fly helicopters and ex-military jets in England. He retired to Cape Town in 2004, bringing two Cold War jets with him, and he teamed up with Thunder City, where he still flies the Hawker Hunter, Buccaneer and aerobatic aircraft