RAF Fighter Pilot -Author- Passion – Devotion – A Role Model to follow!
Fighter pilot as a job was always a dream for a lot of children. Fighter jets were the ‘motivation’ injection for most of the aviators. So, it was about time to write a post to honour a special fighter pilot, professional skier and author of Speed of Sound, Sound of Mind, Mr. Roger Cruickshank.
So fasten your seatbelts and prepare for a quick trip to Greatness and Passion, in one post.
Mr. Cruickshank let’s find out about you, tell us how it all started, why have you followed this career?
Well, thank you for this interview and I feel very happy to be part of this project!
My story starts with a glider. I did around 10 hours in a glider which was only a couple of miles away from where I went to school in Aboyne, Scotland. The name of the gliding site was Dinnet. I knew I wanted to be a pilot from a very early age but I didn’t have any money to get any lessons! So I then decided to join the military to try and become a pilot.
Fortunately, I managed to get a flying scholarship when I was 16 which meant I got 20 hours free flying tuition in a Cessna 152 at Tayside Aviation in Fife, Scotland. It was incredible and I definitely got the ‘flying bug’! I actually did my first ever solo flight on my 17th birthday then landed and had my first drive in a car with my provisional license. That was a day that I will never forget!
What are your duties these days, and what type of aircraft do you fly?
I’m a Squadron Leader in the Royal Air Force and I fly the Eurofighter Typhoon.
Recently, you have been honoured with the Distinguished Flying Cross! Would you like to tell us a few words about this award?
“I am very humbled to receive this honour and feel proud to have even been nominated in the first place. However, I sincerely feel that I was just doing my job and in the right place, at the right time.
I have benefited from a supreme training system which set me up to deal with the task I was faced with and feel fortunate to have been given the confidence to cope.
Finally, I must stress that it is hugely down to the team as a whole, the engineers, the survival equipment personnel, the operations staff and many others, who all ensured that I was indeed in the right place, at the right time and able to save the lives of allied personnel on the ground.” The Royal Airforce officially wrote:
”Squadron Leader Roger Cruickshank has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in the Operational Honours List 2017 for his strong leadership in the fight against the enemy in Iraq.
On May 27 2016, while leading a Typhoon formation, Squadron Leader Cruickshank conducted successful strikes against multiple hostile targets, with repeated exposure to anti-aircraft systems. He showed phenomenally quick-thinking, supreme technical knowledge and sheer determination to successfully destroy enemy targets while his formation ran critically low on fuel, nevertheless, he still managed to achieve the mission and get his formation safely back to base”.
We see that you wrote an interesting book about Mental Health, would you like to tell us a few words?
My main story and the reason I do a lot of promotion on social media is that my Mum committed suicide in 2010 and ever since then I have been trying to fight the stigma attached to mental health. I have recently written a book called “Speed of Sound, Sound of Mind” which is available in paperback if you contact me at facebook (and please like my page) or you can download the electronic kindle version Amazon.
All profit goes to two chosen charities – Help for Heroes and the Scottish Association of Mental Health and we have already raised over £6000. The book is about my experiences as a pilot, as a professional skier (I skied in the Downhill & Super G events in the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy) and I co-wrote the book with a good friend of mine, Donald MacNaughton, who is a Sports Psychologist.
Very well, so do you hold any other license?
No, though I definitely don’t have enough time to do anything else, never mind flying anything else! Though I really would like to get my civilian licenses so that I can continue to fly after I finish my commitment to the Royal Air Force.
Have you experienced any emergencies so far?
I’ve had plenty of emergencies though a very memorable one was when I was a pilot on 6 Squadron. We were moving the squadron from RAF Leuchars to RAF Lossiemouth and for the occasion, we did a massive 6 Sqn formation and flew over the top of both airfields as we departed/arrived. As we formed a solid “6” multi-Typhoon formation in the sky, I was No.2 which meant I was at the front, in formation on the boss as No.1
Literally, just as we flew over the top of RAF Leuchars, my Typhoon started to vent fuel all over the aircraft that were behind me! Luckily the guys still managed to stay in formation behind me and I waited until we were clear until I could handle the issue!
What was your inspiration for all this?
My Dad always told me that I could do anything that I put my mind to. He made me realize that it is all about having a great attitude and working hard to achieve your dreams. I must also thank my wife because she has always been my rock and is forever my voice of reason.
So, do you have any future plans?
I have nothing specific because I absolutely love the job I do. Though, it is very busy and stressful, spending large amounts of time away from home so that might have to change as I grow older!
What is your message towards the aspiring pilots?
You must realize that you will learn something new every single time you fly. Accept this and never become complacent because that is when things can get ugly! However, the key to a successful career in aviation is your attitude – never say never and never, ever, ever, ever, ever give up!
Find Mr. Roger Cruickshank on:
@RogCruickshank on Twitter
And his book:
– Amazon “Speed of Sound, Sound of Mind”
All profit goes to the charities – Help 4 Heroes & the Scottish Association of Mental Health.