Bader Braves final take off (and landing!) at Doncaster Airport brings to an end a magnificent DBF era.
After 94 Bader Braves Young Aviator Days at 20 different venues; 3150 flights using 325 aeroplanes and over 2500 Bader Braves enjoying the experience – often for the first time – of flight in a light aircraft, the time has come to end this great initiative.
Bader Braves Final Take Off marks the end of 16 years of hard work and total dedication to this hugely popular initiative by Director of Bader Braves Operations, Keith Delderfield, and his wife, Jess, who was also instrumental in making these wonderful and literally uplifting events such a success.
We’re sure you’ll join us in saying a heartfelt thank you to them both and to all the wonderful, giving souls who have made our Young Aviators Days so popular: the staff and volunteers at the flying clubs; aircraft owners; pilots and ground crews. You are all heroes and without you this initiative wouldn’t have got off the ground!
Read Keith’s moving summary below…
FINAL TAKE OFF FOR BADER BRAVES YOUNG AVIATORS.
Back in 2006 we received an out of the blue telephone call from a lady whose son had tragically perished in an unfortunate air accident in the USA where he was working. Seb Farrow had previously been working at White Waltham Aerodrome and Douglas Bader had been his boyhood hero. Mrs Farrow, Mireille, had learned of the work of our charity and suggested a memorial event at White Waltham that provided an opportunity for disabled youngsters to take a flight in a light aircraft and share the same experience and enjoyment that Seb and Douglas had taken from flying; later in the summer the Douglas Bader/Seb Farrow Flying Day was held to great acclaim; unwittingly it became the seed for what was to arguably become one of the greatest achievements of our charity – namely Bader Braves Young Aviators.
When the Trustees of The Foundation met in 2009 there was discussion as to how the charity founded to continue Douglas Baders’ inspirational work could best celebrate the centenary of its talisman. Having regard of DB’s support and work amongst charities supporting the lives, education and opportunities of disabled youngsters and being mindful of the great success of our 2006 event at White Waltham the Trustees charged me as Director of Op’s, with the task of investigating possibilities of establishing similar events. The levels of interest and willingness to support was so encouraging that four events were quickly organised around the UK.
It was a straightforward task in naming the project. Greatly inspired by the Bader story, the Kanai Indian Tribe (a branch of the Blackfoot nation of North American Indians) bestowed the great honour on Douglas of making him an elder of the tribe naming him “Chief Morning Bird”. Coupled with this accolade was the fact that each of the youngsters that the charity sought to support and inspire would unquestionably have to be “brave” themselves as they face the difficulties that life would present to them in the future. And so Bader Braves was born and Bader Braves Young Aviators took to the air.
The project proved such an enormous success and the support of the aviation family throughout the UK so great that in no time at all twelve events were planned annually throughout the summer months. Soon we had received the generous support from twenty flying clubs and organisations that spread a network throughout the UK from Belfast to Sandown on The Isle of Wight and Bodmin to Kinloss and all points in between!! For ten years hundreds of youngsters have become Bader Braves Young Aviators some travelling many miles to join us at a venue and share in the enjoyment of flying in a light aircraft. Some were really captured by flying and a number of Bader Braves have tried their hand at flying and gone on to achieve their PPL’s (Private Pilot License).
Then, annoyingly, along came the dreaded Covid pandemic. Bader Braves Young Aviators were grounded for two years. During that period much changed for everyone in the world but eventually things began to get going again and in 2022 we managed to organise four events although Mother Nature ensured that only three could be operated. Another monumental universal tragedy then hit the world in Kosovo which still rages today. As a consequence energy prices have as we are all aware, gone through the roof and aviation fuel has been particularly hard hit. Our events rely so much on the generosity of so many people, flying clubs, aircraft owners, pilots and the unsung ground crews; we are deeply indebted to each and every one of them for without their kindness, generosity and contribution there could have been no such event. For our charity things were changing and it was clear that there were significant operational difficulties and decisions ahead. Sadly the decision had to be taken to end the Young Aviators programme and at 18.15hrs on a sunny evening at Doncaster Airport a PA28 provided by the Aeros Team, our hosts for the day, landed, taxied in and parked up on the apron ending over a decade of Bader Braves Young Aviators.
During that time there have been 94 Bader Braves Young Aviator Days at 20 different venues; we have made 3150 flights using 325 aeroplanes and flown over 2500 Bader Braves with their family members.
Personally I shall miss it enormously for I have had the privilegeof attending every event where I have made so many good friends, met so many wonderful families, drunk more tea and coffee than can be imagined but, more than anything else, it is going to be seeing so many happy smiling faces!!
Best wishes and good luck to you all,
Director of Operations,
Bader Braves Young Aviators.