The History Of Fighter Patrol…..
The idea for Fighter Patrol was born one sunny afternoon in the skies over Northamptonshire. A fellow pilot was taking his wife out for a fly in their vintage Tiger Moth.
He spotted me heading out in my Fokker DR1 & we hatched the idea for me to appear alongside as we thought his wife would be delighted. This turned out to be a huge understatement – as when we all landed, she was ecstatic, and described the experience as utterly incredible.
Then we flew a photo-journalist, and he said seeing the Red Baron appear from nowhere was the most terrifying thing he had ever seen.
Since then we have flown dozens of friends & family on an informal basis, but in order to fly anyone else, we needed to put the adventure onto a formal footing – so we set up Fighter Patrol, joined forces with Derby Aero Club, and we now offer a truly unique Trial Flight Experience Package. Choose from one of our Missions and you will experience more than just a flight, more than just a lesson – we will wind back the clocks, fly you into the past, and put you centre stage in a vintage Fighter Training Scenario.
Depending upon the mission you choose, you will may have the opportunity to fly with the Red Baron in the skies over the beautiful Shires of England.
We also offer a standard trial flight in a Tiger Moth.
About Paul Ford
Paul Ford is one of the faces behind Fighter Patrol.
The award winning Fokker Dr1 in the colours of The Red Baron pictured below was built by Paul & his wife Sarah, with the assistance of a fantastic group of friends & family.
Paul has been involved with vintage aircraft ever since he was 11 years old, when he was lucky enough to work as a volunteer at Duxford Airfield, now the Imperial War Museum. He took part in many major restorations, including the Blenheim, RE8, B17 etc. He counts himself as privileged to have known the Late-Great Ormond Hayden-Baillie & it was him who inspired in Paul a passion for flying that knows no bounds.
An accomplished mechanical engineer by trade, Paul served an apprenticeship & then spent 26 years at the World renowned University of Cambridge Department of Engineering where he investigated soil mechanics, fluid mechanics & combustion for Rolls Royce, BAE Systems, etc. He was mildly distracted by Robot Wars for a while & appeared as part of the Cambridge University Team with Mortis, a hugely popular & successful robot.
In addition to Robot Wars, Paul has done a variety of TV work. He appeared on The Big Breakfast, Clarkson, Local Heroes & Regional News Programmes with his jet engines on bicycles & go-peds. G-FOKK has appeared in a number of programmes, the one we are most proud of is Fighting The Red Baron – a Channel Four production
Paul Ford – Why I built a Fokker Triplane
“During the time I was learning to fly at Cambridge Flying Group, I gradually realised that Taildraggers were my first love. I decided I needed to fly the ultimate Taildragger. Obviously, this was the Fokker DrI. I was confident that no-one was ever going to let me fly theirs, so I hatched a plan to build my own.
I hadn’t actually told my wife of my plans… Although I had mentioned it in passing….. Anxious not to be divorced again, I purchased a book “How to Build a WW1 Replica AND Stay Married!”, it was subtitled “You’re going to build a what?!” I didn’t actually read the book though, but luckily Sarah did. She highly recommends it for any other builders WAGS.
She didn’t really believe I was going to build one until a large box arrived from America, containing a huge quantity of wood and metal – luckily for me she decided to humour me and join in!
In 2008, five years later, our Fokker Triplane was test flown at Sywell and has been delighting crowds at airshow & private events ever since.”