Only Fools and Horses

Only Fools and Horses: David Jason got lost while learning to fly a helicopter and gave a farmer the fright of his life

This farmer didn't expect to see Del Boy stepping out of a helicopter which landed on his field

Even some veteran Only Fools and Horses fans are surprised to learn that David Jason is a qualified helicopter pilot. Although he does mention the very cool skill in his autobiographies, the Del Boy actor is much more well known for his comedy acting than his flying. At 82, Jason is incredibly still dedicated to his favourite passion, and still going strong flying his own helicopter.

But everyone has to start somewhere, and sense of direction was not Jason’s strong point when he was new to the air. The actor once got so ludicrously lost that he gave an un suspecting farmer the shock of his life, when he had to make an emergency landing in the farmer’s field to ask for directions. Apparently the farmer was pretty surprised to see Del Boy stepping out of the aircraft.

Unfortunately for Jason, he was attempting a flying exam at the time, for which he had to navigate a solo cross-country trip in the helicopter. Needless to say, he failed the test. Speaking about the event in a previous interview, Jason explained how he managed to completely bypass each of the designated points he was supposed to be flying to.

At 82, David Jason still flies his helicopter and has said he will be heartbroken if he ever has to stop (Image: Yui Mok/PA Wire)

He said in his book a Del Of A Life: “I managed to get lost and I had to land in a field to ask a farmer for directions. Poor bloke. He was surprised enough to see a helicopter come down on his land and even more surprised to see Del Boy get out of it. I failed the exam, needless to say, and by next week the story of the bozo who got lost on his cross-country test was all around the airfield.

“Still, I passed eventually, and with the need I now had to get to meetings and locations up and down the country, I managed to rationalize buying my own little machine – a four-seater Robinson 44, my mechanical pride and joy.”

Jason, who first got behind the controls of a helicopter when he was 28, actually credits flying for giving him his acting confidence. An amateur dramatics student when he started out flying, he reflected on the experience, explaining : “When I started flying, I found you didn’t need an academic mind – you just needed determination and dedication.

“I don’t think I would ever have taken on professional acting roles if I hadn’t had the ability to fly. I had quite low self-esteem and it gave me the self-confidence to believe I could do anything that I put my mind to.”

Jason has kept his cool hobby going well into his later years. The 82-year-old had to pass an important medical exam to retain his pilot’s licence as he got older, and has expressed how heartbroken he would be if he ever has to stop on the Lorraine show. Earlier this year he was spotted landing his helicopter at Jeremy Clarkson’s farm, in perhaps the most extravagant journey to collect eggs ever made.

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