Our Bader Braves Young Aviators Day at Hull Aero Club is the only one that is held on a weekday during the school holiday period; it particularly suits the Club as, apparently, it is much quieter for them and easier to operate than at a weekend when, in the words of event co-ordinator Peter Spencer “it can get a bit busy!”
If that is the case then thank goodness this was a Friday for, as we arrived just after 09.00, activity on the airfield was already
pretty hectic. I spotted Peter away in the distance busily preparing aeroplanes and manoeuvring them into position ready for the day with the tug; he looked a bit under pressure so best give him some space for now before saying hello!! Flights were already operating in and out of the airfield for as well as hosting our group for the day the club have a very active flight training academy which, even at this hour, was clearly in full swing. We made our way into the clubhouse where we introduced ourselves to Dave, Duty Manager of the day, who quite apart from dealing with us, was busy dealing with aircraft movements on the radio as well as answering the telephone which seemed to ring again the minute he put it down. Once the welcoming chit chat had been dealt with and we had secured Dave’s nod of approval for erecting banners etc.
Peter then appeared and explained the operational routine for the day; two aeroplanes, a Cessna 172 which he would be flying and a Piper PA28 Arrow to be flown by Jim Tonge, had been allocated for the day and they were parked up on the hard standing adjacent to the well-manicured clubhouse lawn and all ready to go. Thankfully it was a lovely morning and Jess was able to organise herself on a table strategically well placed on the lawn; she was pretty much ready to go surrounded by the usual piles of paperwork, tee-shirts, caps and other paraphernalia of the day but waiting for me to deliver her coffee so as her preparations were complete ………. I know my station!!!
And so at around 10.15 the first of our Braves arrived and it was straight into action. After explaining what was going to
happen Jim collected his Braves for the first flight of the day, escorted them and boarded them into his Arrow; we could see him delivering his safety briefing and it wasn’t long before the engine sparked into life and they taxied away to the other end of the grass runway before turning into wind and accelerating back towards us lifting off and disappearing into the distance.
By now our Braves were arriving in a steady stream and the procedure would continue throughout the morning. Peter took the second flight asking his Brave if there was anything special he wanted to see or somewhere special that they wanted go. All of the flights would last around 30 minutes which put the City of Hull, The Humber Bridge, Bridlington or, in some cases, the Brave’s home or school within range; the choice was pretty vast and our wonderful pilots were only too pleased to oblige.
As the first flight returned with its excited youngsters safely back onto the ground the next flight loaded and departed. The retuning smiling Brave just couldn’t wait to tell all about the aeroplane, the flight, what he had seen – some had even been treated to a little hands on the controls experience!! Wow – mind-blowing it seemed!! Then, as they calmed down, it was time for something to eat and drink. Our catering manager had a range of goodies, snacks and some amazing “Hot-Dogs” on offer (all best taken after the flight of course!).
By midday, when a short comfort break for the pilots had been scheduled, it was clear that the weather was becoming a little more threatening in fact there was a brief shower. Although our Braves operation had come to a brief halt aeroplanes were still coming and going. Dave in control informed us that “that one has just flown in from East Leeds, that one taking off is an overnight visitor from Belgium, the one lining up is a student on a lesson etc etc etc”, it really was quite busy.
Afternoon Braves were now arriving and Jess was going through her routine with the paperwork and sizing up the Braves for tee-shirts (she could easily get a job in M&S!!). Pilots fed and watered were ready for the afternoon session and were soon back in action. Sadly, one of Braves had been taken poorly at home and was unable to attend but, as it turned out, this disappointment played rather fortunately into our hands as the wind was now picking up, the temperature was definitely dropping and the showers were becoming more frequent and a bit heavier. That said Peter’s comforting assurance that all would be OK transpired to be a very accurate forecast as towards 16.00 the last of our Bader Braves flights took to the air. Whilst it was up we had time for yet another cuppa and a sticky bun – Young Aviators Days are a real hazard for my ever expanding waistline! – until the buzz of the Cessna could be heard in the far distance as it came in on finals before touching safely down, turning onto the taxiway and coming to a halt back at its point of departure; engine off and ……… silence, well comparative silence at least.
After much handshaking, good luck wishes and, most importantly, collecting of feedback forms is was time to say good bye to our Bader Braves, pack up our stuff and then have a sit down with our hosts for the day, mull over proceedings and pencil in a date for 2018 for, without doubt, Peter, Jim, Dave and the whole Hull Aero Club team had given us a wonderful day and yet again provided an awful lot of smiley Braves faces.
Thank you Hull, hope you’ll have us back next year!!
Please click HERE if you’d like to download a pdf of Keith’s report to print and keep. It will open in a new tab.
We are very grateful to Lesley Dunn, who attended the Young Aviators Day at Hull with her family, for sending us these lovely photographs. Please do follow her example and send in your photos of any of the Bader Braves events so that we can share happy memories of the day with others.