Eight-year-old Jacob Newson – known as Jacob the Pilot – was the guest of honour on HMS Prince of Wales over the weekend.
The pint-sized pilot, wearing his RAF flight suit, had the chance to sit at the helm of the £3.2bn warship, as well as check out the 65,000-tonne vessel’s huge flight deck.
It was the latest chapter in an adorable love affair between the RAF-mad youngster and the navy carrier, which has seen the pair ‘clash’ in a series of cheeky posts on social media.
Speaking to The News, Jacob said: ‘It was a brilliant trip. I liked HMS Victory but was very excited about going on HMS Prince of Wales. I can’t believe how big it is.
‘I loved running along the flight deck and up the ramp pretending to be a F-35 Lightning.’
The schoolboy from Leeds hit the headlines nationally for his fundraising work for the RAF Benevolent Fund.
Last month, he scooped the Above and Beyond title at the charity’s annual awards for raising £43,000 for the organisation.
During his trip to Portsmouth, Jacob was joined by other children invited onto Prince of Wales as a special thank-you from the ship to inspirational youngsters nationwide.
But despite his VIP treatment by the ship’s company of HMS Prince of Wales, the schoolboy admitted he had not been convinced to change his plans to join the RAF.
In one cheeky picture, the youngster was seen giving a ‘thumbs down’ while testing out a bed in one of the crew’s cabins.
He added: ‘I loved it, but I’m still not sure I want to join the navy because the rooms aren’t as nice as the RAF’s.’
Jacob was joined on the tour with Caden Wright, another one of Prince of Wales’s young Twitter fans.
Speaking of the visit, the ship’s media officer, Lieutenant Paul Beardall Jacklin said: ‘It was nice to give something back to some of our youngest Twitter fans. They certainly enjoyed themselves and @Jacob_The_Pilot may now be considering a career as a Royal Navy pilot. The RAF will not be pleased.’
The light-hearted spat on social media was ignited when the lad launched a tongue-in-cheek attack following a post by the carrier’s sister ship, HMS Queen Elizabeth.
The £3.2bn Portsmouth-based vessel had posted a couple of photos of a Merlin and Apache attack helicopter landing on the ship’s flight deck with the question: ‘Spot the difference’, to its 100,000 followers.
And in a cheeky response, Jacob’s Twitter account responded: ‘Easy...Neither of them belong to the finest flying organisation in the world’ – accompanied by a gif of the Leeds lad in his RAF uniform, winking.