Wicken youngster Alex, 10, spends day as a pilot at RAF Lakenheath

Alex Lister tries on an F-15 fighter pilot helmet.

Alex Lister tries on an F-15 fighter pilot helmet. - Credit: Archant

A 10-YEAR-OLD boy fighting a brain tumour earned a set of fighter pilot wings when he enjoyed a day at RAF Lakenheath.

Max Rowlandson and Alex Lister are immersed into military life while participating in the Pilot for

Max Rowlandson and Alex Lister are immersed into military life while participating in the Pilot for a Day program. - Credit: Archant

Alex Lister, from Wicken, has a brain tumour which doctors are unable to operate on.

Max Rowlandson watches an F-15 fighter jet fly from the aircraft control tower.

Max Rowlandson watches an F-15 fighter jet fly from the aircraft control tower. - Credit: Archant

On Tuesday he visited RAF Lakenheath as part of its pilot for a day programme, to take a break from routine hospital visits.

During his visit Alex received a custom-made flight suit, a close-up view of an F-15E Strike Eagle and HH-60G Pave Hawk, a look through night-vision goggles, an air traffic control tower tour and a birds of prey demonstration.

At the end of the day he received a set of fighter pilot wings.


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Alex toured the facility with Max Rowlandson, aged five, from Saffron Walden.

Captain Charles Price, a 492nd Fighter Squadron pilot, said: “Showing them what we do on a daily basis is the least I can do for these guys.

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“They were thrilled to be here. Just seeing the smiles on their face is what keeps me going.”

The pilot for a day programme was founded in March 2012 by Major Jason Bianchi, 493rd Fighter Squadron pilot, for children in the community fighting life-threatening illnesses.

After his visit, Max said: “I want to fly one! It was awesome!”

His father Daniel added: “It has been very beneficial to my son. He’s got a love for aircraft and for him to have the opportunity to see them is very exciting.”

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