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                      Saturday 16th September 2017

12th Annual Young Aviators Day – Sywell Aerodrome

I can quite categorically say that this, the 12th Annual Young Aviators event at Sywell Aerodrome, ranks as one of the best Young Aviators events at Sywell to date, for so, so many reasons.

We flew a total of 83 youngsters (74 Scouts and 9 non-Scouts) and 11 adults, in a total of 15 aircraft with 18 pilots, an unprecedented amount of generous flying support, from an amazingly generous group of pilots, and without you all, these flights just would never have happened.


However Young Aviators is not just about the flight, it’s all about a wonderful day of Inspiration, Education and most of all Fun, to enable the Scouts to gain some of their Air Badges, but also enabling some non-scouts to take part, and for all of them to have a superb day, and to be inspired to consider a career in the wonderful world of aviation, in one of the many roles that are out there, and often not known to many youngsters.

Now all of this just could not happen without all of the superb volunteers who helped out on the day, and of course not forgetting all the folks in the background – the wholly unsung and highly professional airfield crew – everyone in ATC (very busy with so many extra movements including Chipfest participants), the Fire & Fuel farm crew, Hotel staff, the Pilots Mess staff, the wonderful Sywell Museum staff and the local 1st Sywell Air Scouts.

We had an incredible static display consisting of a Cadet Glider from the London Gliding Club at Dunstable, compliments of Brian Mills, fielded by Clement Allen and 2 of the young cadets Nathan and Grant 

Then we had the gorgeous Beech 18, G-BKGL from Leicester which showed what early airline flying must have been like, with it’s terrific crew consisting of lucky owner Nick Houghton and his crew Simon Wilson and (??? sorry I did not note his name). Then we had something slightly different – Fritz the Loco ( a World War 1 German trench loco which supplied the front line with ammunition and supplies) with owners George and Doreen Coles, from the Northampton Society of Model Engineers (NSME) Ltd ( and last, but not least, John Gammidge with his lovely award winning ¾ scale Titan T-51B Mustang G-CIXK (

In the Club room, we had map reading and navigation exercises, run as usual by Young Aviator stalwarts Geoff Goodchild and his son Sheridan, and assisted by Frank Leonhardt and his daughter Molly.

In Hangar 2 we had Toni Hunter of the new “Aviation Experience Company” (, with her fellow crew of Taff Stone and Andrew Hellen, who had a popular flight sim set up, while alongside them was another busy group of activities for everyone, including the wonderful Egg Crash Test Workshop, which had some very clever and innovative models built, most of which took off and landed with the egg intact, though we did have some scrambled egg!!.

This was run magnificently by another Young Aviator stalwart Ellie Doak from 1st Sywell Air Scouts, who provided materials, eggs and much other equipment, with husband Scott, and the equally amazing Jackie Hains, Peter Morrall, Paul Cox and Neal Tavener. 

Finally I want to thank the other amazing volunteers, especially my long suffering wife Denise (who was presented with a beautiful “Wizard” from Ron Shell, as well as an amazing bunch of flowers from Stewart Luck and the YES committee, who very kindly also sponsored some of my costs for the event again this year).

Then we had more stalwart volunteers, who helped in various roles to make sure the event ran smoothly – Tom Johnson, Michael Miklos, Theodore Dounais, Aaron Brown, and from Towcester Rotary Club – Dawn Denton, Eoin Martin and Roy Bricknell.

Alas, a few did not make it due to weather or mechanical issues, but they were there in spirit – Richard Warriner who was stuck in France, Jim Dole who had mechanical problems and Graham Wiley flying G-GWFT, a RANs S6 (one of the six RAeS/Boeing Schools Build-a-Plane aircraft) now belonging to the Georgia Williams Trust ( who left his base at Halfpenny Greem only to be thwarted by low clouds some 25 from Sywell and had to turn back home.

A big “Thank You” also to Pooley’s (Sebastien Pooley and Steve Dancer and all the staff in Cranfield) for the goody bags and their contents, the Light Aircraft Association and Penny Sharpe, for items for the goodie bags, including the new and excellent LAA Today, Jonathan Axford, Rupinder Pamme, and Aditee Desurkar of the Royal Aeronautical Society for more contents for the goodie bags.

Thank you to all the non-scouts who took part, including some special needs youngster who flew with their parents, and who thoroughly enjoyed the day and their flights.Thank to all the Scout troops and leaders and organisers, with a special thanks to Andy Hunt, who has handed his Northamptonshire Scouts county co-ordination role to Jonathan Hazell and he and his lovely wife Judith did a great job at the Bus Stop, making sure that we had a tent for shelter and doing the very important checking out and in of the youngsters and adults who flew.

Scout Troops who took part this were – 28th Oxford, 43rd Oxford, 54th Oxford, Whiteleaf, Chiltern Vale Scout District, Bucks, 1st Thame, Chiltern Vale Scout District, Bucks, Rutland District Explorer Scouts, 1st Sywell Air Scouts, 1st Kilworth Air Scouts, Husbands Bosworth, and Northamptonshire Scouts from the following districts – Thrapston, Potterspury, Kings Heath, Kettering, Wellingborough, Chapel Brampton, Rushden, Brixworth, Northampton, Burton Latimer, Wootton, Rushden, Daventry, Wootton, Stony Stratford, Kettering, Irthingborough, Ashton and Blisworth)

Pilots who flew youngsters and adults this year were – Chris Bradford (with his wife Kay) in Escapade 912 G-ECKB from Clench Common, Neil Stannard in RV-12 G-CHTI from RAF Henlow, Chris Levings & Matthew Burnham in Skyranger 912S G-XLAM from Sywell, Ron Kirkland in Jabiru UL-450 G-CBGR from RAF Henlow, Tony Wakefield & John Hawkins in GY201 Minicab G-BGMJ from Sibson, Kevin Walton in Flight Design CTSW G-SLNT from Sywell, Koby Maron in Jodel D117 G-AXCY from Compton Abbas, Paul Higgins & Richard Wenham in Skyranger 912S G-CIIT from Sywell, Peter Banks in Flight Design X2K G-PRAH from Finmere, Stewart Luck in Bolkow 207 G-ATTR from Audley End,  Alan Jackson (with Fred Thomas) in Jodel DR1050 G-IOSO from Poddington, Mike Evans in QwikR Explorer G-KWKX from Croughton, Joe Brown in DHC-1 Chipmunk G-GCGC/WP903 from RAF Henlow, Simon Swift in Pioneer 300 G-CEAR from Finmere and last but not least Mark Johnson in lovely Miles Gemini G-AKIN from Sywell.

A final big thank you to Sywell Aerodrome for once again hosting this event, and for waiving the Young Aviator landing fees and providing the Club Room and Hangar 2 for our use.

Northampton Chronicle & Echo reporter Alastair Ulke, and photographer Kirsty helped to provide some coverage of the event – see their report and pictures on

I am totally humbled by everyone’s generosity and support, as I could not do all this every year without the amazing team around me.

Thank You one and all once again and roll on the Young Aviators 2018 event at Sywell on Sat 15/09/18 and Young Aviators 2019 on 14/09/19, where we will be flying our 1,000th youngster.

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