Once again our friends at The Shropshire Aero Club provided Bader Braves with yet another fantastic day on Saturday 2nd July.
Despite the rather disappointing temperature, gusty winds and threat of “intermittent showers” event organiser, Neil Edgeley, took the decision on Friday after consulting with the weather men, that our Young Aviators Day at Sleap should go ahead and what a wise decision it was!! Saturday dawned bright and sunny although it was most definitely “woolly weather”. By the time I arrived at the airfield Neil and his team of volunteers were already gathered in the briefing room and arrangements for the day from ground operations to flight plans had already been agreed.
Some aeroplanes were already prepared and standing waiting on the apron for the first arrivals whilst other pilots scurried from the briefing to the hangers dispersed around the airfield to ready their own aircraft and taxi them to join the waiting squadron. It wasn’t long before the first of the Braves began arriving and after a quick welcome it was straight over to operations for introduction to their pilot for the day who took their charges out to the apron for safety briefing and boarding. Excitement was building in control as more and more Braves and families arrived. Fortunately the weather was kind to us and once checked in the youngsters could go out to the viewing area to watch proceedings whilst waiting their call.
One by one the engines fired into life and taxied from the apron to the far end of the runway to line up; final checks by the pilot, throttle open and then the bit all the Braves love – the acceleration down the runway and then take off. As one aeroplane gently lifted off and climbed over the perimeter fence, away over the nearby village eventually disappearing from view towards Shrewsbury, the next flight followed and so it went on for some time until the organised rhythm of departing flights was interrupted by incoming aeroplanes, an operation superbly managed by those in the control tower.
Hub-hub on the apron was by mid-morning at its height as excited outbound Braves mingled with incoming Young Aviators who just couldn’t wait to tell their parents and siblings of the thrill of being flown in a light aircraft. The volunteer pilots were brilliant and some had even made sure that those Braves who lived within a reasonable distance were given the opportunity of seeing their home or school from the air – something that rarely happens on Easyjet!!!
Whilst everything was progressing so smoothly and in such a well organised fashion I couldn’t help but notice that cloud was building quite rapidly and that the hills in
the distance were getting a bit “murky”; then one of the pilots came in to report that it was beginning to get a “bit bumpy” (pilot speak for windy!!) and it wasn’t long before his views were ratified by one or two of his colleagues. After a quick chat, organiser Neil decided that if we
continued to fly through lunch and not take a break then everyone should get their flight before the poor weather that was now threatening arrived at the airfield.
And so picnics arrived from the café, Braves and their families happily tucked into their food whilst pilots just grabbed a bite and cuppa between flights and so, by mid-afternoon, everyone’s desire to fly had been satisfied. Cars, loaded with beaming smiles, began streaming away from Sleap with shouts of thanks coming from their windows. It wasn’t long before the last engine shut down and an air of relative tranquillity returned to the Aero Club operation room. After clearing up, completion of all of the associated paperwork it was time for a very big thank you to each and every one of the huge number of volunteers who had come together to make sure that Bader Braves Young Aviators were ensured yet another superb day with The Shropshire Aero Club at Sleap Aerodrome!
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