Spitfire Pilot Parachutes for First Time

Peter Proctor was a Spitfire pilot during the Second World War. Many battles that took place during the Second World War involved a great deal of aerial warfare, so Proctor was in many ways fortunate that he never had to bail out of his plane. In fact, he has never had the occasion to jump out of a plane with a parachute at all. At ninety-two years of age, the retired Spitfire pilot decided to change this by partaking in a recreational jump.

Proctor is an accomplished airman, having served in numerous countries such as Burma and Zimbabwe. It has been over seven decades since he first joined the Royal Air Force. When he joined, parachuting was a last resort to escape death when one’s aircraft was compromised. In peacetime, however, the retired Spitfire pilot was able to parachute for the thrill alone. Accompanied by an instructor, Proctor made a freefall jump from over thirteen thousand feet in the air. Although he recognizes his good fortune in never having had such an experience during the war, he found himself excited to do so now.

During the war, Proctor would have faced numerous dangers when bailing out of his plane. Not only would he have been practically unguarded against enemy fire, but even opening the hatches could have been difficult. The Spitfire pilot enjoyed his danger-free freefall, to the extent that he believes he would like to do it again. Not only did he enjoy the chance to partake in a new experience, but he also found himself enamored with the adrenaline rush that it gave him.

One of the inspirations for Proctor’s jump was his late wife, Olive. It has been eight years since she passed away, which was a tragic experience for Proctor. Friends and family members encouraged the Spitfire pilot to do whatever he could to continue to make his life worth living. For him, this meant travel and trying new things. This was a particularly fitting new experience for Proctor, as his former career has led him to experience a great feeling of enjoyment when taking to the skies, the Mail Online reports.

Proctor was not simply fulfilling a desire that he hadn’t fulfilled as a Spitfire pilot. The Royal Air Force Falcons supported his jump, and Proctor managed to raise three thousand pounds for the RAF Association. This charity supports other airmen, as well as their family members. Not only did Proctor get to partake in a new experience, but the Spitfire pilot was also able to do some good for other men like him.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE