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Skydiving into retirement

Paul Dixon served 46 years in the RAF and in that time never jumped out of an aircraft. So when it was time for Paul to retire, his family had some extreme plans for him. Paul tells us more in this post.

I went to school in Farnborough and lived just by the main gate to the airfield. That’s when I caught the flying bug in the exciting and optimistic days of the Farnborough airshows.

Paul Dixon skydiveI remember those Lightning and Vulcan scrambles and all the wonderful new aircraft. So I joined the ATC and completed a gliding course at White Waltham and then went on to a flying scholarship at Thruxton.

Finally I joined the RAF in 1964. After initial training on the Chipmunk, Jet Provost and Gnat I was posted to 85 Sqn at RAF Binbrook flying the Canberra. At the end of this tour I re-trained on the Hunter and completed a short tour at RAF Wittering before being posted to the Phantom. I then served on 31 Sqn at RAF Bruggen in the Ground Attack and Strike role from 1974 to 1976.

It would take too long to tell you about the rest of my RAF career, but I can tell one thing - I’ve enjoyed every minute.

When it came time for me to finally retire this year my family wanted me to go out in style. So they secretly planned to send me on a skydive as in all my 46 years in the RAF I had never jumped out of a serviceable aircraft. They knew I’d love it as I have other “extreme interests”.

I did have to be let into the secret eventually as I had to get a medical clearance before the jump. It was a fantastic experience and we raised nearly £600 for the RAF Benevolent Fund.

I was so pleased to support the RAF Benevolent Fund in recognition of the sterling work they do supporting the RAF family in need.

All in all it was a great way of celebrating my retirement and supporting an excellent charity.

Squadron Leader Paul Dixon

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