Paul Dodson joined the Museum in 2019 as Aircraft Access Volunteer.
For the past 22 years I had been unable to work following a motorbike accident which shattered my right shoulder. Despite this setback, I have had the pleasure of helping raise four daughters and able to pursue various interests including all things aviation.
Last April, I had the misfortune (or fortune depending on how you look at it!) to have fallen and broke my arm. However, medical technology having improved since my original accident, has resulted in a much more stable arm, increased mobility and reduction in pain. Because of this I decided that I needed to make a new year resolution to volunteer. I couldn’t believe my luck when I saw the RAF Museum were looking volunteers for the Aircraft Access team. I applied and was successfully chosen.
To say I was chuffed was a bit of an understatement! I didn’t have to wait long for my first open cockpit event. I was assigned the Westland Whirlwind search and rescue helicopter along with fellow first-time volunteer Michael.
Admittedly 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.
We even had a former RAF navigator and his family 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.
I got such a buzz (pardon the pun!) showing the visitors around the helicopter. and giving them a close-up experience of the museum’s important work of preserving the museum’s collection of our aviation history and look forward to my next shift.
Please click here to read another article by an aircraft access volunteer by Chris Fenwick.