Poorly youngster becomes pilot for a day at RAF Lakenheath

It was the perfect birthday treat for any little boy – but for young Jack Driver in particular a day spent surrounded by aircraft at RAF Lakenheath was a dream come true.

Jack, who turns 11 today, suffers with a rare auto immune condition which involves regular platelet treatment and blood transfusions.

But despite his weekly hospital visits, Jack has developed a passion for planes, which led to him becoming the first to take part in a new scheme to become a Pilot for a Day.

The youngster, whose condition – aplastic anaemia – means his bone marrow fails to make enough blood cells, received a specially made personalised flight suit, was shown around an F-15 Eagle and HH-60 Pave Hawk, toured the air traffic control tower and fire department and was presented with his own set of pilot wings.

Jack, who visited with his parents James and Helen Driver, from Beverley Road, in Ipswich, and also has a seven-year-old sister, Freya, said the day was better than he imagined.


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He said: 'It's bigger than I thought and the helicopter and flight simulator were awesome – I can't believe I shot down 10 aircraft.'

The Pilot for a Day scheme, which will treat a seriously ill youngster to a day on the base every four months, was begun by Captain Jason Bianchi, 493rd Squadron pilot, following treatment for testicular cancer.

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