Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

RAF jet 'thrill' for cycle hero Hoy

Sir Chris Hoy swapped his bike for an RAF Typhoon as he took to the skies above Scotland
Wing Commander Roddy Dennis, left, flew the aircraft with Sir Chris Hoy

Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy swapped his bike for a Royal Air Force Typhoon as he took to the skies above Scotland.

The six-times gold medal-winning cyclist boarded the aircraft during a visit to RAF Leuchars in Fife.

The jets, which can fly at twice the speed of sound, were based at RAF Northolt in west London to provide air security throughout the Olympic Games.

Sir Chris joined 6 Squadron for the 60-minute flight during a routine training exercise which saw him fly as high as 30,000ft (9,144m).

He said: "It was absolutely incredible. It's very difficult to explain just how exciting that was to be up there and what a thrill it was.

"I feel very privileged to be asked to come here and take part in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

Wing Commander Roddy Dennis flew the aircraft with Sir Chris as a passenger up to Orkney and then back down over the Highlands. Sir Chris took over the controls as the Typhoon travelled just off the coast of St Andrews.

"It was fantastic. When the opportunity came for Sir Chris to come to Leuchars and for us to take him flying, we didn't want to miss that," Wing Cdr Dennis said.

"He took control and did a loop and was a bit of a natural. With someone like him, with his skill and natural ability, it was great to get him in the back seat.

"Our frontline Typhoons are single-seat multi-role aircraft but we have some twin-stick jets for training purposes and it was a pleasure to give one of our Olympic gold medal winners this opportunity. He was the perfect passenger."