Paul Dodson – Aircraft Access

What I do
As an Aircraft Access volunteer, I help visitors to the Museum to see inside some of our aircraft.
For my very first open cockpit event I was assigned to the Westland Whirlwind search and rescue helicopter. I was both nervous and excited all at once! But the team leaders, staff and other volunteers really made me feel more relaxed. Any fears I had of not coping with specific questions were completely forgotten. All the visitors were friendly, patient, and very grateful for our help.

What I love
I get such a buzz (pardon the pun!) showing the visitors around the aircraft and giving them a close-up experience of the museum’s important work of preserving the museum’s collection of our aviation history. You also get to talk to some really interesting people, such as a former RAF navigator who served on Wessex/ Sea King helicopters. He was very interested in the information we provided and even better, was able to explain to us exactly how the search and rescue operations were carried out.

What I get
For 22 years I was unable to work following a motorbike accident that shattered my right shoulder. But when I had the misfortune (or fortune, depending on how you look at it!) to fall and break my arm, medical technology had improved since my initial accident. With increased mobility and reduced pain, I resolved that I wanted to volunteer, both as a way of getting back into some form of work, and also to give something back. I couldn’t believe my luck when I saw that the RAF Museum was looking for volunteers, and when I was accepted, to say I was chuffed is a bit of an understatement!