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The day itself dawned bright and beautiful, with only a slight breeze and superb visibility after a very lack-lustre and cloudy Friday. We arrived at Sywell to set up at 8am and by 9am Russell Osborn, Dave Beetham, Geoff and Jacob Goodchild and myself were ready to receive the first of the 83x Young Aviators that we were expecting. After registration (thanks to Eddie Harrington for also helping) a number hadn’t turned up, but we already had some others – friends of those already registered – who were keen to fill the empty slots, so we were once again close to the 80x mark when the registration process was completed. This years event was a truly international affair, with Young Aviators not just from the UK, but also from France, Spain, Sweden and Nigeria taking part in the event.

The Welcome and General Safety brief was undertaken at 10am and then the 4 groups of intrepid Young Aviators went about their activities as per the Day Plan starting at 10:20. While the activities got underway, Russell Osborn and Michael Jenner were ramping up to accept and register the arriving pilots, before the flood of Young Aviators started to appear at Departure Control for their first flights departing at 11:00.

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The four groups were split by age and whether they were Scouts or not. Group A was for ages 7 to 12, and the 18x youngsters were looked after initially by Marianne Kendall, who was joined at lunch time by Neil Sandys. Group B were looked after by Andy Cornwell,, which were 17x older 12 to 15 year olds. Group C was made up of 3x lots of Scouts – 6x Grantham Explorer Scouts (led by Ceinwen Roberts and Lorraine Noble-Thompson), 6x 1st Cottesmore Air Scouts (led by James Stewart) and 6x 1st Beer Scouts all the way from Beer in Devon (led by Nigel Groves who originally hails from the Sywell area and who wanted his Scouts to see where he came from). Group D was made up of 11x Northamptonshire Scouts, (who were co-ordinated by Bob Stubbs and came from 1st Oundle Scout Troop, Glendon Explorers, Daventry Explorers, 49th Briar Hill Scout Troop, Northampton, 1st Greens Norton Scout Troop – Grafton and Wellingborough Explorers), 5x 1066 Squadron Hitchin Air Training Corps youngsters (co-ordinated by Erica Vey) and 4x 16 year olds.

Once again we had an action packed day lined up for everyone, with the four main core activities of 1) a Hangar Tour (thanks to our excellent tour guides Jacob Hinson and Fred Thomas), 2) Pre-Flight Planning/Flight/Post Flight (Scouts only), 3) Map Reading (Geoff Goodchild and John Carey) and 4) Quiz/Other Activities – supplemented by a large amount of additional activities.

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These activities consisted of 1) Quiz – in the Young Aviator booklets handed out to all participants, 2) a Marshalling Demonstration and Practice runs by Dave Beetham and Dave Irvine, 3) Radio/Telephony Fun with Ben Burt, 4) the superbly fun Egg Crash Test Workshop run by Angella Kelly of Discovery4 – which involved building a model aircraft and then flying it with a egg on board, without either cracking the egg or getting egg on your face, as some did literally!! (this activity was open to everyone, and provided much laughter and merriment and also many excellent comments – we must do this again next year Angella), 5) a superb lunch-time model aircraft flying display given so expertly once again this year by John Norris of Horizon Hobby UK Ltd (, 6) the amazing Experimental Hybrid Rocket Car which came compliments of Fred Thomas and the team at Silverstone, accompanied by David and Carolynne Campbell (see and

We wish the team every success with the project, and we hope that the recent contacts with NASA will come to a mutually beneficial conclusion. 7) Sit in static aircraft – with thanks to Christine Hooton and Rachael Balraj for answering all the questions about cockpit instruments and aircraft parts, at the static aircraft provided by Brooklands Flying School – with grateful thanks to CFI Richard Wallis.

Thanks also to Joan Harrington for making sure that all the troops had water and things were running smoothly, and to my wife Denise for help with the handing out of the Goodie Bags and slices of cake and Young Aviator certificates at the end of a wonderful day. One of the great things to see on the day were the two groups of Scouts who had earned their Air Badges on the basis of their participation at our Young Aviators day. John Furley of Bucks University also came along and hopefully this will lead to an extra display and a lecture next year, and James Thomson also popped along after doing his duty of flying a Dash-8 from Birmingham to Jersey and back again.

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Eggs Away!

There were many, many others also involved in the day itself, who all played their part in making the event such a great success. The BWPA (British Women Pilots Association – Caroline Gough-Cooper (Chairman) and Sian Thomas for handing out information to those young ladies interested in the BWPA and the help it can provide them. Stewart Luck (who was not able to be with us on the day due to a prior commitment) of Y.E.S. for the provision of the very first Build-A-Plane project aircraft (RANS S6 G-TSOB “Spirit of Brooklands”) and its bus, as well as not one, but two, pedal planes (a Tiger Moth and a Spitfire) for the future Young Aviators to play with, and thanks to young Jacob Goodchild for doing the ATC duties to prevent any collisions and/or damage to the two planes. To Richard Lambert who once again did the honours in taking the official photographs and to record the days happenings in pictures.

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I’d like to say a very special “Thank You” to Alan Jackson, who not only flew some Young Aviators, but also did sterling work in the weeks and months leading up to the event, passing the word around to get so many pilots and their aircraft involved, as well as setting up the Build-A-Plane aircraft for display and then packing it all away again.

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I would also like to thank Lawrie Linskey of Sloane Helicopters, plus James Skinner for providing access to the Sloane Helicopter hangars during the hangar tour, and to Flight Instructor Wendy, who provided the commentary and answered all the questions from those youngsters who climbed on board the helicopter that Sloane’s provided for our use. Thanks to Paul and Sarah Ford for displaying their magnificent Fokker DrI G-FOKK ( before it headed off to a previously booked appointment..

Cathy at FlyLight for once again letting us look around their hangar, full to the rafters with Microlights, as part of our hangar tours, and to Brooklands Engineering for access to their hangar. The Sywell Museum also had their two Cockpit sections (a Vampire and Chipmunk) out on the sunshine and hopefully generated much passing trade and interest in their superb museum collection.

I would also like to thank Michael Bletsoe-Brown, Kathy Putnam and Amy Bletsoe-Brown for the hosting of the event at the wonderful Sywell Aerodrome and for the use of the room for the Map Reading and Hangar Two for the excellent the Egg Test Crash workshop, and for the usual waiving of the participating pilots landing fees, all of which are very much appreciated.

To Damien and all the hard working staff in the Pilots Mess, who were kept busy providing food and drinks, but ran out due to the large demand on the day.

I would also like to thank Dan Tye of Go Flying magazine for the Go Flying magazines for the Goodie bags, Sumi Fonseca, General Manger, Gulfstream Aerospace Ltd at Luton Airport for some of the freebies for the goodie bags, David Houston, Learning and Development acting Manager of the Royal Aeronautical Society in Farnborough, Lucy Lonergan of Signature Flight Support, and to Y.E.S. (Youth & Education Support) Strut of the LAA and out-going Chairman Colin Hastings for their support in providing the Strut cover for the event, the LAA themselves ( especially Penny Sharpe, for the LAA magazines and Young Aviator certificates and to Roger Syratt for bringing them over to Milton Keynes for me.

To Jeff Bell and Tony Rowlands in the Sywell tower, many thanks guys – they coped with 470 movements – more traffic than on the previous Sunday of the Sywell Revival fly-in!.

And the final figures – we flew a total of 70 Young Aviators and 34 adults (with some extras) to bring the total to 111 people flown, in 82 flights conducted by 22 pilots and 21 aircraft, including our very first helicopter!!. Incredible!.

Finally I would like to thank all the pilots, and their ground helpers, for their tremendous generosity in providing their aircraft, time, fuel and enthusiasm on the day, and without whom the flying element would just not have been possible;

David Beale (Tipsy Belfair G-APIE from Ely),

Joe Irwin (Beagle A61 Terrier G-ATHU from Eaton Bray),

Mark Johnson, his wife Sue and young Tom (DH-82A Tiger Moth, G-DHZF, Sywell based),

Henry Luck (Bolkow B208BC G-ATTR) from Audley End)

Phil Brigstock (Eurostar G-JEEP from Empingham),

Alan Jackson (Jodel 1050 G-IOSO from Poddington),

Alan Gray (Auster J2 G-BEAH from Witchford),

Koby Marom (Jodel D117 G-AXCY from Bennington),

Edmund Comber (Jabiru 2 seater G-EWBC from Benwick),

John Parker and Mandy (Eurostar G-VORN from Benwick),

Tony Wakefield (Minicab G-BGMJ),

Peter Chamberlain (Robin DR.400 G-CBEZ from Turweston).

Mike McLoughlin (Skyranger G-CCDY from Little Gransden),

David Thomas (Falco F8L G-CCOR from Fenland),

John Gammidge (Skyranger G-CDFP, Sywell based)

Andrew Overton (DiamondStar DA40 G-DIAM, Sywell based),

Mark Hooton (Grumman AA-5 Tiger G-MOGI from Cranfield)– also flown by Andy Chester),

Nick Dean (Jabiru 430 G-MUTZ from Raunds, Rushton)

Anthony West (Hughes 500 G-RISK, Sywell based),

David Archer (Skyranger G-XLAM, Sywell based),

and Richard Pidcock.(Pioneer 300 G-PCCC from White Fen Farm).

Our 5th Young Aviators is already in the diary

Saturday 18th September 2010, Sywell Aerodrome

Look forward to seeing you all there.

Photograph Credits – (IH) – Ian Hutchinson (RL) – Richard Lambert

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