Father and son take to the skies for special RAF Leeming anniversary (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Father and son take to the skies for special RAF Leeming anniversary
An RAF fighter pilot faced the ultimate challenge when his high flying dad celebrated a half century milestone.
Fifty years ago to the day Rod Dean made his first solo flight from RAF Leeming in a Jet Provost and courtesy of the North Yorkshire base he returned to the cockpit to mark the anniversary today (Tuesday, March 19) - only this time his son Duncan was at the controls of the Hawk jet.
The pair have flown many times together but never in a jet, and never with Flt Lt Dean in charge.
Mr Dean said: ”It is totally fantastic to be able to fly with my son in a Hawk, it really is one of the highlights of my flying career.”
Flt Lt Dean, 37, said: "It is special to be flying with my dad 50 years to the day since he did his first solo flight.
"It's nice to be able to pay back all the flying I did with him, he inspired me from a very young age."
During his career Mr Dean, 68, went on to become a weapons flying instructor on Hunters, Jaguars and Hawks serving in Aden, Bahrain, Germany and Oman, and still flies light aircraft.
The route, a training sortie, took them up through Wensleydale and over the Lake District flying at altitudes up to 15,000 feet.
As they neared home Flt Lt Dean said he had been given permission to let his dad take over.
“I know he knows what he’s doing and that’s the beauty of the hawk they have dual controls, so I can take back the controls at any time,” said Flt Lt Dean.