Father and son pilots take to skies for 50th anniversary

A FORMER RAF pilot took off from a Yorkshire base for a “pleasure” flight with his pilot son – 50 years to the day since he took his first solo flight there.

Rod Dean, now 68, joined the Royal Air Force in 1962 and completed his first solo flight on March 19 1963 in a Jet Provost from RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire.

Yesterday he was back at Leeming for a flight in a Hawk jet with his son Duncan, 37, a fighter pilot with 100 Squadron who has tours of the Falkland Islands and Libya under his belt.

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Mr Dean Senior, who become a weapons and flying instructor on the Hunter, Jaguar and Hawk, serving in Aden, Bahrain, Germany and Oman, said: “Flying on the anniversary is very special. I would like to thank the station and the squadron for making this possible.

“Flying with Duncan has made it an extra special day.”

He added: “Flying has changed a lot; it has become more professional.”

His son, who joined the RAF in 1998 and has flown and instructed on the Hawk, Tornado F3 and F-16, said: “It’s a nice way to pay back all the flights I had with him and for the inspiration he has given me.

“I love flying and have to pinch myself every morning.”