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After the 2009 Young Aviators (YA) event, I still had two gaps in the line up, and these luckily came along to be filled in 2010. However more about that in a minute.

Planning for the 2010 event had started straight after the end of the very successful 2009 YA day and gradually as the months progressed we added more activities to the day, all of which provided more variety for everyone to join in and enjoy.

The day itself, Saturday 18th September started off a little breezy and slightly chilly, and the chilly air was to continue all day long, which had the effect of keeping away some of the “drop in and see what’s happening” folks, which was a great pity, but it enabled those who were part of the day, to have the opportunity to take part where otherwise there may have been queues for certain activities.

The format of the day continued its usual format as in previous years for the Young Aviators present, and it was good to see a record number of youngsters enjoy those set out YA activities.

We had 4 groups again this year –

Group A consisted of the younger participants, 19x of them.

Group B containing 19x older youngsters, including 10x gifted & talented students from Harlington upper school, being rewarded for all their hard work during the previous school year with their G&T teacher Claire Hoar and finally 2x 1066 Squadron, Hitchin Air Cadets.

Group C was made up of 24 Scouts (5x Grantham Explorers with their co-ordinator Ceinwen Roberts, 6x 1st Chorleywood Scout Group with leader Jonathan Carther and Neil Sandys, 10x 7th Someries (Luton) Air Scouts with Adrian Sutcliffe and Helen Halsey, 1x lone 13th Maidenhead Scout, and 2x 1st Iver Heath Cubs/Scouts).

Group D was made up of a further 26 Scouts – 13x Northamptonshire Scouts with their leaders and co-ordinated via Andy Hunt and his wife Michelle, (4x Grafton District, 3x Glendon (Kettering) District, 2x 2nd Raunds, 1x 1st Irthlingborough and 3x other Northampton Scouts), 7x 1st Beer Scouts from Devon with leaders Nigel Groves and Fiona Gage, 5x 1st Cottesmore Air Scouts with leader James Stewart and last but not least 1x lone scout from 1st Willesborough, Kent, making up this final group).

YA Registration was carried out this by Geoff and Jacob Goodchild, and Denise Faehndrich, and once checked in and armed with their Group IDs, name labels and YA booklets, off they went on their various activities as per the Day Plan. Youngsters were streamed as Scouts (Orange outlined name badges) and non-Scouts, and these were matched up pilots and their aircraft who were similarly badged, due to the currency requirements for flying both groups of youngsters, and though Alan Jackson, Michael Jenner and Bill Dobinson were kept busy checking all the various licenses, documents, etc, eventually the first group of youngsters were able to start their flights, with the “bus stop” being ably manned by Bill Dobinson and Michael Jenner and later assisted by Crew Chief Andre Faehndrich.

Our usual photographer was recovering from a minor heart attack, so photographs were taken by various folks to record this wonderful day.

While the Young Aviators carried out their map reading and navigation exercises, which this year were once again carried out by Geoff Goodchild and  John Carey, and were joined by  Frank Leonhardt, we had much else to keep not only them, but their friends, family and siblings amused.

The hangar tour team of Jacob Hinson, Dave Beetham and Fred Thomas were kept busy showing the various Groups around the Brooklands Engineering, FlyLight and Sloane Helicopter hangers (Thanks once again to Lawrie Linskey and his team for the access and to our guide James Skinner on the day) and many others including parents joined in to see “air-side” and get an up close and personal  look at the amazing variety of aircraft giving the full range from flex wing micro-lights to the larger micro-lights, right up to CAA 3 and 4-seater aircraft, tucked into  their hangars, up to the large variety of helicopters from 2 seta Robins R22’s to the large twin-engined choppers which are used for private, Police and Ambulance work providing vital community services to everyone.

In The Square, Jacob Goodchild was kept busy with the two YES ( pedal planes and the BaP1 RANS S6 G-TSOB, which was poking out of its mobile hangar, a former BAA Stansted bus, and with Stewart Luck and Dick Brewster, that had was giving youngsters a glimpse of what can be achieved by youngsters working together, which in turn have spurred the Boeing Company and the Royal Aeronautical Society to jointly offer the Schools Build-a-Plane Challenge, which currently (as of May 2010) has 6x builds in progress – 1) Yateley School near Farnborough. Hants (www.) and very close to its first flight, 2) Marling School, Stroud, Glos, 3) Bridge Learning Campus, Bristol, 4) Ercall Wood Technology College, Telford, 5) North East Wolverhampton Academy (N.E.W Academy) and 6) the Ernesford Grange Community School, West Midlands.

Beside the YES BaP1 aircraft we had a return visit of Carolynne Campbell and her team of Ben Zeallany, Jon London and Josh Campbell, with their wonderful Rocket car ( while next to them we had a wonderful Vintage Glider, which had been beautifully restored by father and son team Peter and David Underwood. It has long been an ambition to get a glider alongside the static aircraft, which was once again provided by Brooklands Flying School, and thanks a million to Richard Wallis (CFI) and his great team for letting us have it once again. Also thanks to Christine Hooton for explaining the controls and instruments to those youngsters and some adults who climbed aboard.

Also in The Square was another of part of one of the gaps in our previous events and this was the Chiltern Region British Balloon and Airship Club (CRBBAC – and here they displayed a smaller burner attached to a 10 foot tall model balloon, of the type used on the full-size balloon, which was too big for The Square (See later for the full-size version).

This provided much interest, as once again, it provided a none-too often up-close view of the burners –the business end of balloon flying.

Alongside the vintage glider Ben Burt provided more “Radio Telephony Fun” and folks were able to practice their airman’s alphabet (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, etc) on a simulated ATC exchange between Sywell Tower and an aircraft. Also here, some of the LDMAS (Luton & Dunstable Model Aircraft Society – team led by Ian Hutchinson and joined by Adrian Turrell, Dave Wright and Richard Galyer, showed off their beautiful radio controlled model aircraft, again up close for people to see.

In Hangar Two, we had a variety of displays and interactive elements that everyone could join in, from the Egg Crash Test Workshop (build a model aircraft and fly it with an egg on board) run by John Meyer and Dave Irvine on behalf of Discovery4 ( – Angella Kelly was not able to join us this year due to another commitment), and then two new items – firstly a bank of Flight Simulators, courtesy of  John Marshall (who is also YES Vice Chairman), and his colleague Roy Marshall (no relation) of AstraSim ( who were kept very busy and also David Bray of  The Imagineering Foundation ( who introduce 8 to 18 year olds to the fascinating world of engineering and technology through fun, hands-on activities.

Nigel Groves and Fiona Gage provided another first, in the grassy area in front of the hotel, where people could make their own paper “stomp rockets”, and much fun was had trying out various configurations, of fins, no fins, multiple fins and much besides.

Away from the Square we had the activities, that due to size and safety needed to “air-side” and away from the main area. Here Hugues Lecoeuche assisted with the entrance to and from the area, and was ably assisted by Norm Gillard, David Wells and Dick Brewster.

Here the BMFA (British Model Flyers Association – Wellingborough Flyers team led by Brian Cooper, with Jake Robinson (13 year old flying instructor), Tom King, Keith Durkin, Chris Dickens, Lee Waples and Mark Darlington, were giving youngsters the chance to do buddy flying – where the youngster could fly a model aircraft, with a qualified pilot monitoring the flight and taking over as required in the event of any problems. This was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.

Also in this area were the CRBBAC where led by Barry Newman and his team, who tried to inflate a full-size balloon, but were twice thwarted by the winds, but it was good to see a full-size balloon none-the-less.

By the Bus Stop, Paul and Sarah Ford for displayed their magnificent Fokker DrI G-FOKK ( and added another aspect to the varied types of aircraft being displayed.  Fellow LAA members David Millin and colleague popped in to Sywell, en-route from Durham to Dunkeswell, to see how things were going and to wish us well.

Around the general area Sylvie Hooton and Joan Harrington ensured all was running smoothly, watering the troops and at the end helping to hand out the YA certificates, goody bags and slices of cake, which went down a treat.

There are a myriad of people in the background, who not visible in most cases were absolutely essential in making the day happen, and I would like to thank the following people – Cathy Vickers 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 many displays and activities in there, and for the usual waiving of the participating pilots landing fees, all of which are very much appreciated.

To Andrea  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, David Houston, Learning and Development of the Royal Aeronautical Society, and to Y.E.S. (Youth & Education Support) Strut ( of the LAA and the Milton Keynes Aviation Society Committee for covering the costs of the events, 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 Ed Carter in the Sywell tower, many thanks guys – they coped with the many movements, which were boosted by the YA traffic at this already busy airfield.

And the final figures – we flew a total of 87 Young Aviators and 15 adults to bring the total to 102 people flown, in 68 flights conducted by 13 pilots and 13 aircraft. A truly remarkable, inspirational day, thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.

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;

Paul Higgins (Skyranger G-UPHI from Sywell),

John Gammidge (Skyranger G-CDFP, Sywell based),

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

Andy Chester (Grumman AA-5 Tiger G-RATE from Cranfield),

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

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

Stuart Smith (Cessna 152 G-BJVJ from RAF Henlow),

Tony Barber (Socata TB9 G-BKIT from Earls Colne),

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

Tony Smith (Jodel D117, G-ATIZ, Sywell based),

Mark Freeman (Piper PA-28, G-BAPW, from Hinton-in-the-Hedges),

Chris Levings (Skyranger 912S, G-XLAM, Sywell based),

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

Our 6th Young Aviators is already in the diary – Saturday 17th September 2011, Sywell Aerodrome

So please do come along and help to motivate and inspire the next generation of youngsters in the varied and wonderful world of aviation.

For further Young Aviator events, please click below: 

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