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Paul Lobley - in fact numerous Paul Lobleys! - with a selection of his waistcoasts

Paul Lobley - in fact numerous Paul Lobleys! - with a selection of his waistcoasts

Aliens, teddies, zebras, bi-planes... just some of the weird and wonderful waistcoat patterns sported by Flight Test Engineer Paul Lobley as he commences his Christmas countdown in the office at Warton.

Aircraft makers at BAE Warton are used to things being loud, but one member of staff is sporting the loudest of waistcoasts for the festive season.

Flight test engineer Paul Lobley has his own Christmas selection box of hand-made waistcoats which he has been wearing to celebrate the festive season each year since 1993.

He has 24 waistcoasts, each a handmade Christmas present from wife Pam, featuring patters of bi-planes, terriers, aliens and even teddies. He said: “It’s become a bit of a tradition in the office, the waistcoat countdown. It started about 15 years ago and it’s stuck ever since.

“I like to think of it as a free service to let people know they need to start sorting Christmas out!”

Paul’s day job as a flight test engineer is what he describes as “one of the best jobs in the world”.

It’s about making sure that the aircraft can do what it says on the tin by monitoring the aircraft as it flies real-time from a bank of monitors that show Paul exactly the same as what the pilot in the cockpit is seeing.

As a data expert he uses his skills and meticulous eye for detail with a spreadsheet to record the date, colour, pattern and history of each waistcoat. So, according to the spreadsheet, the Typhoon test team is set to see polar bears, owls, woodland creatures, union jacks, aztec designs, locomotives and red teddies before the end of the year.

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