Features | 9

So off went our Comms Manager,Caroline to RAF Coningsby,armed with questions to cover during Flt Lt Peterson’s lunch break.

Luckily for me the morning’s practice hadn’t gone to plan because of afault with the aircraft (I was reliably informed by Jim however that he wasn’t to blame) so was grateful to be given alittle more time.

Bearing in mind Iamnomechanic/engineer, Iwas still intrigued as to what had happened to the aircraft in the morning and how Jim had flown it back. Jim was happy to share what had happened (a throttle issue). He patiently explained to me how the aircraft reported the fault, and then what action Jim had to then take, to safely return to base. Out popped the comprehensive hand-held procedures booklet from Jim’s drawer,he flicked straight to the specific error code to show me the procedures he followed. All was explained rather calmly as if general everyday practice, which of course it is for pilots who are drilled daily to deal with such problems. It reminds you that this is the Royal Air Force. They all work to such strict standards which are embedded from the word go. To them, it’s business as usual but to me as afamily member and totally not an aircraft specialist –itissuper slick and very impressive!

At the time of doing the interview the 2018 team was still in its infancy and building. Whilst 29 Sqn itself has aheadcount of 200 personnel, the Typhoon Display Team will consist of some 15 engineers who have volunteered to join the team, working in three different rotational groups. Jim added, “I haven’t had chance to get to know these guys yet as they are still all on their various postings; some are as far afield as the Falklands so I’m looking forward to our first real trip out as that’s when we’ll all shift into gear and really start working together.”

“For each air show we will take two aircraft; sometimes three depending on our needs. On the odd date, I’ll do adisplay in one location and then hop into the next Typhoon to fly on to another location and do asecond display.Itwill always be me flying the displays. We don’t have abackup pilot.”

Becoming the Display Pilot

Youhave to be aQualified Flying Instructor (QFI) on this type of aircraft before you can volunteer to become the Display Pilot. Jim was chosen following aselection process involving aformal interview and adisplay flying test in the Full Mission Simulator.Jim considers it to be agreat honour to be able to display the aircraft in what is amilestone year helping to mark the RAF100 celebrations.

You’re sat on the runway,ready to start your display.What goes through your mind?

Jim paused before answering. “This is going to sound very big headed and it’s not meant to be, but by the time I’m sat on the end of the runway,I’ve simulated, visualised, and practiced over and over again, so that everything to do with my routine is in my head. Iknow it inside and out.” Jim then went to his desk and picked up what looked like a very well-used black cane with atoy Typhoon stuck on the end. “I even use this as one of the many ways to run through my display, working through my turns, loops and rolls, it is just another way of helping to embed the detail.”

“I went solo in gliders at 16 and passed my initial pilot qualification through a6th Form and Flying Scholarship.”

Why the RAF for you?

“I had wanted to fly from avery early age but actually thought more about being an airline pilot to be honest. Ihadn’t really considered the RAF at that point. As ateenager,mymum saw aposter with aglider on it at our local |Summer 2018 | ENVOY


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