With Flt Lt Jim Peterson, Typhoon Display Pilot 29 Squadron
When did you know that you wanted to be a pilot?
When I was a child my parents took me an airshow – that inspired me to want to fly.
What is a typical day like in the RAF?
It changes everyday which is one of the appeals of the job. A typical day, however, will involve flying in an actual Typhoon and/or in the Typhoon simulator on an instructional sortie or on a currency/proficiency training flight.
What makes a good pilot?
Somebody who is quick-thinking with good reactions and coordination and someone who is confident and calm under pressure.
Do you remember your first ever experience on a plane?
I remember going on holiday to Majorca as a child on a Boeing 737 and loving the feeling of the take off and the view out of the window.
What’s been your most memorable flight?
There are many but anything that is unique or a first sticks out. The first time you go solo in an aircraft, the first time you fly it operationally... how long have you got!?
Do you remember your first solo flight? What was it like?
It was in a glider when I was 16 and I was very nervous initially but once I was in the air the training kicked in and I was fine. It was a tandem seating arrangement and once I was flying I had to look over my shoulder and make sure that there was nobody sat behind me – which there wasn’t!
How do you overcome stressful or even potentially dangerous situations?
I keep myself fit which helps me physically and I think also mentally. I ‘chair fly’ upcoming flights and missions to visualise in my head how I’m going to handle potential situations and I think of contingencies.
What advice would you give to someone who is scared of flying?
Try and enjoy the experience for what it is. Know that you can’t pilot an aircraft commercially unless you’ve had an incredible amount of training and that the aircrafts are highly engineered and maintained. Statistically this makes commercial aviation the safest form of transport in the world.
Do you have any pre-flight rituals? (either as a pilot or a passenger)
I always go to the toilet. There are limited options in the Typhoon if you get caught short!
And when it comes to packing, what do you never leave the house without? ID, phone and a debit card.