In this episode we spoke with Jim about his aviation career, becoming the solo display pilot for the Typhoon Fighter Jet, F22 Raptor vs Eurofighter Typhoon, advice for future aviators, airshows and more!
👉🏻 Who Is Jim Peterson Pilot?
A highly experienced fast jet pilot and 'A2' Typhoon Qualified Flying Instructor, Electronic Warfare Instructor and display pilot with a breadth of roles undertaken across UK Defence including the Test and Evaluation sector and operational flying. Intelligent, conscientious and hard working with a proven track record of performing at the highest levels. A fit and active individual with an out-going nature, able to get along with people from all backgrounds and at all levels. A team player but equally capable of working alone, when the situation dictates.
THINGS WE DISCUSSED:
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hey what's up guys and welcome to episode 88 of talk 4 the quickfire podcast where we ask four great questions to unique and interesting people behind the mic today is your host Louis scopion that's me and let me introduce our very special guest for today Jim Peterson is going to be answering our questions today Jim all I can say man is welcome aboard the talk 4 podcast just please introduce yourself and say hi to the Fine people who are listening to the show today and just give us a quick rundown of who you are and what you do and then we're going to shoot a few questions hi Louie great to be here Jim Peterson I was in the Royal Air Force for 23 years I left last year um most of my time was spent flying the typhoon uh I also displayed it for two years in 2018 2019 uh and last summer I I left the left the service and I moved out to Kata to continue with the typhoon projects out here TR training the qataris and helping them develop their 24 typhoons that they've brought fantastic man and um yeah so obviously me massive Aviation fan won had a look at your a couple of your air shows and stuff on YouTube just got it I didn't ever get to see one of them but my God you know how to rip that thing around it's so cool um honestly got some great questions for you today um just interested so question one like how did this all start for you then so you know walk me through your backstory a bit so what kind of peaked you your passion for Aviation and why and when did you kind of join the RAF and just kind of guide me through your military career a bit sure I was one of those typical kids who played a bit of sport uh but was pretty geeky on the old video games and stuff like that um and then one summer my parents just decided let's go to an air show just for something to do so we ended up going to the Bournemouth Air Show down at Hearn airport uh it was called the TVs Air Show I think at the time and uh it was actually at the airport I think now it's down still down down on the seaside isn't it but I saw the Red Arrows I saw an F-16 just tearing the sky up and I was like oh my God that's an incredible thing um I'd like to do that but then also my dad had a friend who was a captain for British Airways uh and he drove around in a in a fast portion and had a lovely house I thought well actually maybe that's a good option as well so Aviation was kind of where I wanted to go I wasn't quite sure military or civilian I thought well I I'll try the air Cadets my mom managed to find us me a local Air Cadet uh so I went along to that and they're very RAF orientated um and I just really enjoyed everything all the flying all the gliding uh and and they got me a scholarship actually so I got a I got what's called a six form scholarship and so they gave me a bit of money towards my a levels uh and gave me a guaranteed slot at um at crownwell to start officer training as a pilot also got a flying scholarship uh but when it came to being 18 finishing my a levels I actually wanted to go to university so I was very fortunate to get another scholarship with the Air Force called a burst uh and they put some money towards my my University so I went to Lio University for three years studied mathematics and did a lot of flying on what's called a university Air Squadron um up at RF Woodvale flew 140 hours on the Bulldog uh and actually back in those times I'm not sure if they still do they stream you from that course to either fastjet rotary or multi-engine and I'd done well enough to go fastjet so so as long as I passed iot initial officer training which I started in August 1999 uh I was often running on the fast jet training uh took me four years in total but and so by 2003 uh I was on the front line down at RF Mar flying the tornado GR4 did three years on the GR4 uh but always had my eye on typhoon because it was the new exciting jet that was coming out uh it was difficult for me as a GR4 pilot to to LEAP across to be honest cuz the GR4 was well involved in still um in in all of its um operations Etc uh and it was more suited at that time to air to air guys so most people that were going to the typhoon were had a air defense background so tornado F3 or they' done an exchange to the US or stuff like that and actually the jagy was kind of coming to the end of its life as well so it kind of made sense for all the Jaguar Pilots to jump across uh so what I had to do to get there was going work in the simulator at conningsby for two years so it was a ground job but what an amazing grounding it was in in in the jet because I actually taught I think 24 Ground Schools uh to all the pilots that were coming through and I did all the emergency Sims Etc so I I basically learn the aircraft without having to start the course and so by the time I got a course in 2009 it it was kind the second nature to me already um and then I went to the front line I was on 11 Squadron initially and then I was fortunate enough from there to get selected to go to what was then 17 Squadron it's now 41 Squadron but it's the test and evaluation Squadron so you you get all the brand new aircraft and kit uh and go test it out make sure it works so I spent a lot of time in the in the US uh out in the the the the Rangers out there did a lot of a sort of electronic warfare um training and testing out there um but again I always have my eye on display fly um and the only way you can do that is to be an instructor on 29 Squadron which is the operational conversion unit at conningsby uh so I went to 29 became an instructor and then every year they they run a small competition uh who'd like to be the display pilot um and they give you ANW you you do a test in the simulator uh and then I was fortunate enough to get selected for 2018 which was the rf's 100th anniversary year so I got a little hundred flag on the back of my tail not as not as impressive as Black Jack unfortunately but it was it was a great year and there was so much support from everybody had a fantastic season and I didn't want it to end to be honest but the the tradition at that time was you you only get one go you do one year just to let somebody else have another go um but the guy who got selected unfortunately had had an issue with one of his um one of his currencies and Etc and it was became too late for him for him to actually start the workup and so it just made sense for me to to do another year but that was that second year was for me the best even though it wasn't the 100th it meant I could uh develop my display from the previous year and fix what I what I wanted to change because if you know but by sort of January your display is fixed it's been approved but you've never really actually flown it in anger so you don't quite know what's right and what's wrong about it there's small tweaks you could make um but a couple of the bits where I felt I was a bit too far away from the crowd or at certain times I I could change so my 2019 show what that was me that that was my show um and I just tried to make make it as noisy as possible just keep keep keep the reheating um try and make it as yeah try try not to come out of reheat I think I came out of reheat four times in eight minutes which which was yeah a lot of fun not bad at all man I mean yeah I mean in my imagination the only thing I can imagine being better than flying a typhoon is flying a typhoon that's slick with new car smell in the in the cockpit brand new fresh off the line I mean that just must be pretty Epic um but yeah like like you mentioned there obviously so you know you went into the you know solo display stuff um obviously I had a I had a guy called Mike L on not too long ago we were kind of talking about the red arrows and how you can apply and how you can get into and become one of the red arrows and stuff just wondering you know they had quite a few uh parameters and and metrics you had to hit to be able to even kind of apply in the first place to become a red AR and stuff so I'm just wondering where the kind of parameters and was there some metrics that you had to hit and and have to be able to apply to be a pilot of of the typhoon and the display team um how how did that work and like just kind of walk me through the application process there you have to be a an instructor on 29 Squadron by definition as an instructor you need to be experienced there was no actual um requirement for like the 1500 hours the above average in the air but you you needed to be the right person uh hence why they put certain people through the interview process uh and then to be honest it's the station Commander really and a squadron boss who who look at your reports how you are as a person how you are as a pilot uh and make sure you're the right right person for the job and then you get it fantastic okay well that makes some sense if I if I was ever going into the air force I think I'd want to be flying the typhoon so I think I'd be going down a similar route um so just out of Interest so you know something I covered fairly recently as well was um you know there was a Russian Bear bom that was just outside the UK in Scotland and you know it's our typhoon boys that got scrambled to go and escort that you know off of uh off of our backyard basically so just kind of wondering what you think about this because you as a solo display pilot you know you're flying this thing to its absolute Max you know you you're the guy who knows what this thing can do so um just just curious like how do you feel the typhoon is kind of fessing up on the world stage nowadays cuz obviously it's quite an old jet now but you know how do you think it's kind of Performing now kind of on the world stage against other jets that are coming out at the moment and um do you think it's getting outdated or do you think it's just a top of the line still because I mean obviously it's it's a different kind of Beast that jet it's an incredible airframe it always has been the the wing on it uh the loading that you can put on it the 9g and the and the engines that just give it an amazing amount of performance so you've got the fifth gen things out there which which employ the stealth so it doesn't have that as one of its attributes but that means it's not as expensive right so like anything you need to kind of balance expense versus capability and the typhoon all the time is being developed getting better and better and the big things that are coming in are other new radar is getting the electronically scanmed radar lots of new sensors lots of new weapons coming in keep easily keeping up pace with with all the other stuff that's currently out there so I think for value for money versus capability typhoon is is top of the tree um it's it's all well and good paying millions and millions and millions of pounds for an incredible stealth fighter but if you can't really afford to have more than 10 um then then what's the point I'd much rather have 20 Typhoon versus uh 10 10 stealth Fighters but the ideal thing is you kind of have a bit of a mix and then it's horses for courses but it's a multi-roll fighter it's day night it does absolutely everything that you need it to do um and as you say it it can sit on qra it Go intercept Bears it's got really what we call long legs and it can be refueled uh so I took off from conningsby once and flew the way to the America in one go so it can fly a long way as long as it's gots we fueling with it um it it's an amazing Jet and I absolutely love flying it I can tell I mean yeah that thing is like I said it's a different kind of Beast and actually you know something I heard recently actually my dad came out this I was like wait what really um he he mentioned that uh and I think it was in in a simulation a Euro Fighter beat an F22 I think it was like a German one or something I did a bit of reading up in it or something like that and uh and appar apparently this Euro Fighter actually was you know shut down in the simulation the 22 um and I think it was like the thrust vectoring of the F22 was actually like a hindrance towards it and stuff so like from from your perspective as someone who absolutely just tears that thing around you know in their shows and everything um you know if you were merging with an F22 what's your kind of plan of attack there and do you think that's actually like a real reflection of what could happen if if a EUR fighter could potentially beat F22 and I suppose like the question as well is you know like they say in in Maverick for example can any jet beat any jet does it really just come down to the pil
it's a great question we've done a lot of training with F22 uh it that is if you to say to me what's the ultimate fighter in the world I would say F22 um just the combination of its performance its senses and its stealthy characteristics uh if you were lucky enough to get close enough to end up in a one V one against it without it having killed you from a long long way away because you never saw it then typhoon does have some unique attributes where it can it can slightly out outclass an F22 uh and what I would say is we are an amazing rate fighter we have so much power from our engines that we can just put the reheat in and actually we can match an F22 it is the aircraft to some extent but also it is the pilot um you can't fight what you can't see so you you can try and trick people uh to go what we call no joy which means they can't see where you are and so if you can't be seen then you can then get an unseen entry because you're always trying to fight each other like it's a bit like a chess game like they'll do one move and you'll do the counter move to stop it and then you'll try and do your move and they'll and hopefully they don't have a counter to that and then that will get you within a weapon engagement Zone um but end of the day uh quite often it is just luck of the draw quite often these things are very very fine finely balanced uh and just one little mistake from the other person or uh is is all you need absolutely yeah I've been um I've been quite a big fan recently of kind of like the simulators and watching some people doing the simulator stuff I just find it so entertaining but I see exactly what you mean there about the whole L chess thing it really is like that um but yeah kind of rolling back to that question just I'm I'm just interested because I've been kind of asking this question quite a lot recently so you know can anything kind of shoot down anything in a sense I mean does it always just come down really to like environment and the parameters of what's happening there you know I mean there's so many factors involved usually if there was to be you know you know an engagement you'd have obviously loads of different factors involved from you know the air defenses and just you know what you're firing the missiles you're using and obviously the Jets and stuff but just just kind of theorize for me can anything kind of beat anything if it's in the right setting um and you know you say like the F22 is the kind of the dominant there um how dominant do you think it really is then in like in in a disadvantage position for
example like anything you're you're part of a bigger bigger puzzle um anything on its own is going to be vulnerable uh so what you try and do is you try and create a layered layer defense um so you're not just going to be looking at the aircraft itself they all have different types of weapons and then we try and counter those types of weapons so if someone's trying to fire a radar missile at you then you well one you try and stay out the range of it so you try and make your radar missile have a longer range than his radar missile or hers um if that if you can't do that you can do some clever Stu stuff with electronics and you can try and trick the missile um into going to the wrong place um if you get in a bit closer generally the the longer the range they're usually the radar missiles you get in a bit closer then you can start using the heat signature of something so you start using infrared missiles uh but again you can counter those with uh you can fire lases at them you can drop flares all of these things um and then again you get even closer you can start shooting people with the gun the gun is actually one of the hardest things to defeat uh it's really hard you can't flare off a miss a bullet right so the only thing you can do with a gun really is just try and Dodge the bullets um so like anything it's a game um and everyone has their own Technologies a lot of it's very closely guarded as Secrets as you can imagine because if you let some someone who wants to cause you harm know the answers to solving those puzzles uh then they're going to you're going to be at the disadvantage absolutely 100% man well thanks for that I mean that's a uh that that's kind of an aviation Geeks question right there isn't it so that sums me up pretty much perfectly um so obviously um we may have a few future potential aviators listing in right now so um what advice would you give to the next you for example then so you know you in Bournemouth watching nf160 ripping it around and over the beach great time and everything um if you kind of looking back to that you um any young aviators listening in right now any kind of tips or any things that you learn from your journey that you'd want someone like the next potential you to know going into the industry and you know what can you expect from it all for me the the number one was definitely the air Cadets if you can get yourself to to an Air Cadet Squadron and just join up and throw yourself into absolutely everything that that they do then you are putting yourself Head and Shoulders above everybody else um because they're going to give you some leadership they're going to give you U they're going to put you outside of your comfort zone you can do the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme you can do a lot of flying you can do power flying you can do gliding um you can learn some of the military sort of ethos and drill uh and they'll also teach it um like principles of Flight Aviation um law and all these things so for me number one is the EET uh number two is probably never say no or don't don't ever give up um very easy to not be successful initially but if you just keep keep working at it keep working at it um you you will get somewhere in the end uh maybe it wouldn't be not all paths are straight um you can you can end up doing one thing but then that opens a door somewhere else and before you know you've managed to get back to to where you want to be so I would keep focused on where you want to be and don't always be too disappointed if you don't quite get where you want to go because um as I say no path is straight um work hard at school uh it probably doesn't sound like the most fun thing to do but you do need to prove yourself if you um one that you've got the the brains and the knowledge uh that you can do this job um and generally there's like a sifting process and unfortunately like or not they will look at how how you did at school your grades um what a levels you got what GCS you got and in what subjects so the higher you can push those grades the more attractive you're going to be to to to someone who wants to employ you and that's just um human nature isn't it not just anything in aviation um I would try and play some sport play some music just do as much as you can that just proves that you are an outgoing individual and just do something to stand out from the crowd um just so that you can get get chosen because end of the day it's a very competitive environment um so you just need to do something and not be the gray man um and for me I was lucky at the end of the day you will they'll also be luck like sometime some years they won't be recruiting for whatever reason that's going to be a year for you but keep your eye on the prize and don't don't give up absolutely great advice Jim and yeah kids basically eat your broccoli and make sure your homework's in on time and that's how you get into the back seat or the front seat of a typhoon that simple yes I love it so Jim um obviously nowadays you know you're in Qatar right now and stuff and um obviously we've spoken about this but you've got this fantastic leather business right now called assali with your wife um so I've seen the products really really amazing stuff I'm just interested then to hear like the story of the pilot bag that you've designed as well then so obviously you were in the typhoon for years you've been in the RAF for years you know you're flying jets everywhere left right in center and I'm sure you had some things that you probably wanted to have that were a little bit you know just fill some gaps I suppose in your your kit and your load out and stuff so kind of like when you were designing that bag and everything what kind of gaps were you trying to fill then and uh obvious kind of what were you looking for it to kind of achieve and what was the response like when it when it came out I mean looks like it's done fantastically right it's doing really well I'm really proud of it I'm really proud proud of what what my wife Rush has done with it all um so when when you're in a jet they try and make it what they call a paperless cockpit and that would be the the Rolls-Royce situation you get in a cockpit and you have no other pieces of paper with you everything is just there on the touch screen but unfortunately like every day you're doing something different so you you do need to start taking things into the cockpit and you can imagine uh a cockpit is not the big especially a typhoon cockpit it's not the biggest space um so spaces of a premium uh so you want to have something that's pretty bespoke uh and there's a few things out there um that I'd used back in the past uh but I never really found a bag that that worked for me quite a lot of them were were velcro based uh and that fails really really quickly uh and especially under 9g Etc you do last thing you want is to have a bag that explodes in the cockpit and throws throws everything absolutely everywhere so I wanted to create something that was solid but also really really practical so we went down the the leather line because that's what my wife's company does uh but also it uses really really high-end uh standard of Zips so everything is zipped uh which means that it's not going to explode in in at 40,000 ft under under G also we we carry a load of sort of books uh and we also carry uh portable media that we need to have we have our missions saved on uh so we need a way of also storing those in the cockpit and actually a lot of people now fly with iPads as well so I wanted somewhere you could store the iPad Mini so that's why it's such a a practical bag because it's it's exactly the right size to fit in a cockpit it's but it's also got loads and loads of different pockets and bits that are just perfect um it's got a water bottle holder or and it's got an iPad holder at the back um and you can go online you'll see all the people that use it even in general aviation they they all love it so I'm really proud of it amazing stuff you have seen it it looks like a I mean we could only call it the the Raptor of uh flight bags right yeah maybe there we go um right just last little question then so just something for you know fanboying me kind of stuff and any Aviation fans out there so um obviously you know you spent two years flying the typhoon and solo display team um what was your like favorite place to do a display and um also you know for someone kind of getting into the whole Aviation scene as well um any air shows that you'd really recommend someone to go and see especially in the UK as well um I'm CL I've got my own a few right now Royal International Air tattoo next year guns on for that Sun and Fun in America next year I'm really hoping to go to um any big recommendations from you ask the uh ask one of the guys doing the show I loved every display I did they're all unique uh some do really stand out in my mind uh Royal International Air tattoo RI is it is a a real Premiere event um if you can get there you're going to see a lot of different aircraft doing a lot of different shows um it's it's a real fastjet sort of Heaven uh if you want to be see all the fast Jets mostly most of them will be at riap so you're going to get a lot of noise a lot of good shows at riap uh also I really love the coastal places um and and for me the ones that really stand out are the ones that do the evening shows I I love like the Twilight shows where the sun was setting uh there's like a gold you know the golden hour if you if you see the typhoon in Golden hour with the reheat for me that was special so Bournemouth was one of those the great thing about Bournemouth is it's a free show as well so um anyone can come along and just just watch uh anything abroad for me was special um Finland Czech Republic uh all of those were were incredible I I'm actually never been to one in America but I can imagine the Americans do most things very well so I can imagine all of those shows out there would be fantastic I'll let you I'll let you know then Sun and Fun next year game on for that one I'm really really k for it but yeah it's got a nice kind of symbolic sort of circle around you know you got the uh the Bournemouth Air Show um you know that's where you kind of started out where the passion picked up and then we're back there now sending people over to that just just curious what what actually is the name of that air show if anyone wants to go and see it and do you know roughly when it kind of takes place and stuff too I think youve just missed B unfortunately I think it's called Bournemouth International Air Festival it's usually held on the the last weekend of of August sort of around that bank holiday time so yeah next next summer get get your holidays booked down down to the beach nice get your flight suit on and get yourself over to Bournemouth Beach people next year it's going to be good by the sounds of it um well Jim look that's been our four questions for today and before we wrap this up it is time for the Shameless plug so Jim U just feel free to take a minute and promote anything you're working on just anything you want people to go take a look at who's listening in um I think you may have a little discount for us as well for the uh for the store so you know take a minute and promote anything you like send my people where you want just go and have a look at assar designs so www. Asal design.co do.uk it's got loads and loads of amazing leather leather gifts uh so if you're Discerning Aviation fan and you're looking for something that's really highend and quality I think you'll find something something you want there uh and thanks to you uh Lou we're going to use the code talk for all in capitals all one word and that will give you a 10% discount on the web 10 10% discount on the website wicked stuff thanks for that and um yeah I know I'm G to be uh having a little shop around on there there's some really really cool stuff so guys yeah like like Jim said talk for code and 10% off on the store you know go get yourself some wicked stuff Jim here super cool dude making some great stuff just doing great work so um go support and um yeah Jim thank you so much for joining me today for the talk 4 podcast man it's been an absolute pleasure having you on and thanks for thanks for the chat thanks Lou you've been brilliant really enjoyed it awesome and thank you guys for listening too this has been episode 88 and if you'd like to listen to the past episodes go and have a look at our Channel and if you'd like to listen in for the future ones make sure sure to hit that subscribe button and spread some love by leaving a like and a comment signing off for now fights on and see you next time