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10 |Features


©Instagram/bidze78


library advertising 2464 (Storrington) Air Cadet Squadron and knowing of my interest in all things flying she said Ishould go along. With their help, Iwent solo in gliders at 16 and passed my initial pilot qualification through a 6th Form and Flying Scholarship. Everything grew from there really!”


“After my A-Levels Istill wasn’t ready to join the RAF at that point however.Ifelt I wanted to gain abit more life experience and study for abit longer so Iwent to Liverpool University and spent three years getting my bachelor’s degree in mathematics, partially funded by the RAF.It was during my time at university that Ialso met Mindy,now my wife.”


I


How has your career in the RAF impacted on your family?


“I see this as ajourney,with my wife and my two children, who are now seven and nine years of age, and it’s very important to me that my family is happy.Ihave been fortunate compared to most because the aircraft Ihave flown is based in very few locations. So in answer to your question, Iwould say our life


a . ENVOY |Summer 2018 |www.raf-ff.org.uk | Summer


choices, together with my postings haven’t had amassive negative impact on our family.Whilst Ihave been deployed overseas on exercises and various operations over the years, to be able to stabilise ourselves in our own home, close to where Iamstationed has been key for us. My wife’s business is transportable and also allows her to work around the children, especially on the occasions when Iamaway. The children are able to stay at their school, keep friendships and also progress in their evening sports clubs.”


Can you switch off when at home? “I can yes. Ican go home, be Dad, Ican go


on holiday and completely log off.Itisjust something I’ve always been able to do. I don’t know how exactly,Ithink it’s just how my mind works. The only thing that might frustrate me alittle is if Ihaven’t managed to get in as many practice flights as I’d like and Iamathome over aweekend and the sun is shining and it is perfect flying weather –that’s just life though.”


“It’s the same when Icome off adisplay flight, or any flight come to that. I’ve done the task –switch off.”


Giving back


Even with this year’s events and airshows, Jim still has time put aside in July to do acharity cycle ride in aid of the St. Paul’s Eye Unit in Liverpool (the eye hospital that helped him with an eye injury during flying training that had threatened his career), the Jon Egging Trust and the RAF Association. Jim added, “St. Paul’s Eye Unit is especially important to me because without them my flying career would have ended prematurely.”


What’s next?


F35? “Never say never.Iwould like to remain flying operationally for as long as Ican. Idid also really enjoy my time in the electronic warfare evaluation arena and so wouldn’t say no to going back into that at some point. For now,it’s to focus and enjoy 2018 and help celebrate RAF100.”


©Instagram/bidze78


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