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The 14th Annual Sywell Young Aviators event was held at Sywell Aerodrome on Saturday 14th September 2019.

This was another amazing Young Aviators day, organised by Andre Faehndrich.


The day itself was special in so many different ways –

Thanks to the weather gods, we had perfect weather conditions for the event, albeit it was a tad windy.

The 11th Youngster flown that day, was also the 1,000th Youngster flown since the very first Sywell Young Aviators event way back in September 2006.

Tor, aged 9, a Total Aviation Person, was the lucky one, who flew in the very rare Tiger Moth the Queen Bee – one of only 5 of these left in the world.

There were 27x non-Scouts who took part this year, while the Scouts who took part are as follows;

1st Stoke Poges (5x), 22nd Oxford Sea Scouts (5x),  28th Oxford (7x), 43rd Oxford (6x),  Whiteleaf (4x)
1st Brill (1x), 1st Thame (5x), 617 Sandwell Air Scouts (10x), Oakham All Saints (15x), Northampton (24x) and 1st Coventry (Allesley Village) Scouts

In total we flew 109x youngsters and 8x adults, on 97x flights, using 15x aircraft and 17x Pilots.

Pilots participated from AOPA (for the 1st time), using CAA, LAA and BMAA aircraft and it was with great thanks to them that we achieved the amazing total of youngsters and adults flown. With huge thanks to these pilots for their generosity, fuel, insurance and time;

Richard Carter & Ian Ward with G-ARNE PA-22 from Diss.

Graham Elvis with G-CEOP Aeroprakt A22-L Foxbat from Otherton.

Stuart Threadgill with G-CEGL Ikarus C42 FB80 from Chatteris.

Jason & Fiona Bray with G-MOVI PA-32R-301 from White Waltham.

Nigel Surman with G-BYPR Zenair CH-601D from Finmere.

Paul Higgins & Richard Wenham with G-CIJT Skyranger 912S from Sywell.

Allan Birt with G- CJAK Skyranger 912S from Sywell.

Graham Wiley with G-CEWP Aeroprakt A22-L Foxbat from Halfpenny Green.

Stewart Luck with G-ATTR Bo208C from Audley End.

Richard Warriner with G-BUWK RANS S6 Coyote from Bradleys Lawn, East Sussex.

Phil Sharpe (flew adults only) with G-BREY Taylorcraft BC-12D from Leicester.

Alan Gray with G-BEAH Auster from Witchford.

Paul Neve with G-ARNE PA-22 from Diss

Clark Smith-Stanley with helper Gaye, with G-BLUZ Tiger Moth the Queen Bee from RAF Henlow.

Paul Norman with G-ECGO Bo208c from Audley End.

We had another first, and were thrilled to welcome G-PROV, a Jet Provost Mk52, built in 1967, as the very first jet aircraft to visit a Young Aviators event. Painted in South Arabian Air Force colours (and the only Mk52 left flying), it was flown down by Tatiana Schevchenko accompanied by Mark Hooton as her passenger, from Nottingham-Tollerton and was a big hit with everyone, especially when everyone saw it was the diminutive but very capable Tatiana, who flew the aircraft – Go Girl, Go!!.  Next year Mark hopes to bring his 2-seat De Havilland Vampire T.11 WZ507 (the only ex RAF T.11 left flying in the world) down from Coventry-Baginton, to accompany the Jet Provost. Thanks to you both Tatiana and Mark.

We were also very privileged to have the Sywell based Beagle Pup (MSN 004) G-AVLN on static display in the square, being used for some of the ground based Scout Badges, and also in a competition to see who could find as many faults (there were 14x to be found) that would prevent it from flying. With huge thanks to Alina Swietochowska and Peter Kerr, for use of their lovely aircraft and for setting up the challenge.

Navigation training took place in the Club Room as usual, and was once again run by Geoff Goodchild (An Airbus A330 training Captain), his son Sheridan (a PPL and future commercial pilot). Many, Many Thanks to Geoff and Sheridan for doing such a superb job with this activity over the last 14x years, you are stars, as without you both, this activity would not have been possible. They were very ably assisted once more by Jon Edginton, who will be taking over the running of this activity from YA 2020 onwards and we thank Jon for taking this on, and wish him the very best of luck running this from 2020 onwards.

Hangar 2 was a hive of activity as usual. Returning again this year, Anne Hughes and her team consisting of Phil Jackson, Debs Bobka and Sue Stowe, were representing the LAA and brought along the 2019 FAI (Fédération Aéronautique Internationale) Art Competition, and they report 14x new entries for the competition, and I know of one young lady, whose long lapsed interest in art was re-kindled that day, and that is a great result.

Also in Hangar 2, we had yet another first, when Space Store, from Oxford, founded by Stephen Ringler, and assisted by Abi Leach and Katie Bouwer, came along and brought along 2x VR headsets with some amazing “space missions” and some Space Suits (Large, Medium & Small) to try on and wear and be photographed in. This and with lots of space stuff to buy, their dispaly proved very popular, and we look forward to welcoming them back again in 2020. They also very kindly offered to give two youngsters some work experience, one of whom Annabel has her heart set on going into space, so a terrific result there.

Finally the 1st Sywell Air Scouts led by Jackie Haynes (and assisted by Ellie Doak in the background) ran the Egg Crash Test Workshop, which gave us a total of 26x entries for the fly-offs, which much scrambled egg visible, though a fair few eggs survived and were used for breakfast on the Sunday!!.  Also assisting again this year were Luton Scout Leaders Helen Halsey and Adrian Sutcliffe, who did a great job co-ordinating the non-Flying Scouts to acquire some of their Air Badges.  Helen and Adrian again are stalwarts of young Aviators and we treasure all your help and involvement. Thank You both.

2x Pedal Planes for the sub-7-year olds, once again proved very popular, sowing the seeds for future Young Aviators. These were monitored by Kai Collins (a new, young volunteer and a former Young Aviator from a few years ago) and Michael Miklos, who were the in-situ “air traffic controllers”.  Michael has been a volunteer at Young Aviators for years and we could not do without him. Thanks Kai and Michael.

Assisting Andre this year was another young volunteer, Lily Clark from Milton Keynes, who wants to be a commercial pilot, and she co-ordinated the volunteers, and gave out yellow jackets, yellow cards, meal vouchers and was a great help throughout the day. Thanks a million Lily.

The whole day would not have been possible, without the huge generosity of Sywell Aerodrome, who once again waived all the landing fees for all the participants, and gave us Hanger 2 and the Club Room for free again.

The Air Traffic Controllers were also kept extremely busy, and I thank them all, and Jeff Bell, and I hope you all enjoyed the beers.

The staff in the Aviator Hotel, the hospitality team, reception, the bar and restaurant, and also the staff in The Pilots Mess, were kept very busy, and I’d finally like to thank the additional volunteers, Peter Howe, Sharon Downes and who helped guide Group B (the non Scouts) around their activities.

The volunteers at the superb Sywell Aviation Museum were kept very busy, with their excellent museum and Hawker Hunter Gate Guard.

To Jonathan Hazell (who also co-ordinates the 24x Northamptonshire Scouts), once again provided the Bus Stop tent and he and his wife Judith did a superb job (one of the key roles during the day) of running the very busy bus stop, where youngsters, and some adults are funneled through to the pilots, for their flights and they also co-ordinate all the YA certificate signing. Thanks to you both once again, we could not have done this without you.

Last, but definitely not least, I owe a huge Thank You to my long-suffering wife Denise, who got the beers, cakes and then stuffed goodie bags on arrival, and cut the cake, etc, etc. Thanks for putting up with me and with tons of paper in the weeks leading up to Young Aviators, while I printed the YA booklets and then helped me to produce label badges, etc, etc. This year she was assisted by my cousin Lea Hilfiker, over from Switzerland.

At the end of a perfect day, and after the Egg Crash Test Workshop fly-offs, we gave out the usual Young Aviator certificates, Goodie Bags and a slice of cake, and everyone went home with huge smiles on their faces.

So over the last 14 years of Sywell Young Aviator events, we have now flown a total of 1,098x Youngsters (made up of 349x Non-Scouts, 737x Scouts, 12x ATC), 165x Adults, on a  total of 910x flights, flown by 163 pilots flying 154x aircraft.

But as you can see, it is not without the huge generosity of Sywell Aerodrome, and the many organisations, volunteers and pilots that the event can be run at all, and I would like to thank everyone so much for another terrific day of inspiration, education and most of all fun.

I would also like to thank YES (, the education branch of the Light Aircraft Association, for their generous part-sponsorship towards the event costs, which is very much appreciated.

The 15th Annual Young Aviators event will be at Sywell Aerodrome on Saturday 12th September 2020, so here’s to the next 14 years and Young Aviator No 2,000.


Andre Faehndrich

So help us to encourage, inspire and educate our youngsters in the many different aspects of aviation that are out there for the taking.

Please note – 

This event is NOT an LAA or a YES event and is run entirely privately.

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