What crazy weather we are experiencing this summer!! 2018 will certainly go down as a year with the hottest summer that we have experienced for quite a while but just as we are all getting used to it something happens, usually in the shape of thunder storms, which spoils the day.

Friday 3rdAugust seemed to be heading that way as we drove the 250 miles down to Bodmin; very hot, clear blue skies and bright sunshine as we set off from home BUT very hot and humid and very overcast when we eventually arrived at Bodmin Airfield, home of The Cornwall Flying Club!! Event organiser (& airfield duty manager of the day) Pete White was at the clubhouse door to welcome us with a cup of brew. It’s always great to catch up with an old friend and the local news but Pete’s usual chirpy manner was somewhat subdued today as he expressed concerns about the weather predicted for the following day – Bader Braves Day!! It seemed that a front was laying just off the north coast bringing with it very low cloud and a lot of mist. Right now his concern was that an incoming flight from Lee-on-Solent was struggling to find the airfield through the clag; there was much chatter over the airwaves, even discussion of the flight diverting but suddenly the pilot reported that he had a visual and Pete quickly relayed ground conditions, wind speed etc and guided the aircraft safely down to land on runway three-one. A mightily relieved Pete returned to his now rather tepid cuppa and explained that this poor weather had been hanging around all day long, indeed one of the aircraft that had been volunteered for the Bader operation the following day was grounded at Perranporth where the cloud was “on the floor”!! Still, as Pete pointed out, tomorrow could be a whole lot better although by 8.30pm hopes were not too high as the cloud was now a real drizzle and visibility at the hotel was little more than 100mtrs!!

It was certainly a much better morning on Saturday although still cloudy and nothing like the great weather that we left at home the day before. Faces at the airfield were a bit on the long side as we arrived and as the volunteers from the Feet Off the Ground group, the charitable part of Cornwall Flying Club, were milling around waiting the 10.00 briefing but confidence about the cloud lifting to a flyable level was very split, 50/50 at best. First flights were not scheduled until 11.00 so there was plenty of time for the traditional cuppa or two before the planned start and about half an hour for the cloud to break; thankfully break it did!!

As the first of the Braves arrived one of the aeroplanes took off for a quick recce of the weather around the planned route for today’s operation. By the time the first wave of Braves had completed the paperwork the PA28 of weatherwatch landed safely back and the pilot was in deep conversation with his flying colleagues. Suddenly there were some broad grins as Pete announced that all was good to go and the fog was now disappearing fast. In no time at all flight number one was loaded and ready to go and flight number two was being readied.

There had been a rapid and miraculous improvement in the weather; blue sky was now very much on the ascendancy letting the sun shine through to burn off what cloud was still hanging around. The first flight was now away and a very nicely turned out Cessna 182 purred along the runway, lifting off and disappearing into the distance on a route that would take our Braves over both north and south coasts above Wadebridge and Padstow before turning towards Newquay where they turned again to overfly St Austell and The Eden Project, then one final turn to head back in over Lostwithiel and home!!

The rate of activity was now pretty high; the restaurant was in full swing where Carol was going flat out to keep volunteers and Braves alike all fed and watered. By the time our afternoon group started to arrive it was getting really hot to the point that shade was in big demand but the flying continued as too did car rides provided by a member of the local Austin 7 group who worked really hard to meet demand for a trip in his beautiful vehicle.

And so the day progressed with flights, like the Braves, coming and going until we were left with the last flight of the day around 17.00. Once that had been completed and we had waved off the last family there was time for a quiet “debrief”, another cuppa and a giant slice of Carol’s rather splendid coffee and walnut cake – mmmmm!!

It had been yet another hugely successful Bader Braves Young Aviators Day but I would expect nothing less from the great team at Bodmin where the hours of planning had provided a great day carried out with the utmost safety, efficiency and enthusiasm.

And so our day ended with our friends from Feet Off the Ground (FOG); two lots off fog in the same day but, without doubt, the FOG at the end of the day was far, far better than the fog of early morning!!




Braves Bask in Summer Sun at Wonderful White Waltham

It was quite a revelation to have no weather worries, other than the fact that it may be just too hot, as final preparations were being made for our Young Aviators event scheduled at the White Waltham home of our hosts, the West London Aero Club. Everything was in place from pilots and aeroplanes to catering and so as we drove down to the airfield early on the Sunday morning in brilliant sunshine, we were feeling really happy that we were in for another great White Waltham day and so it was to prove!!

By the time we had arrived and prepared everything for participant arrivals quite a few of the pilots were taking advantage of the relative peace and quiet of the clubhouse lawn before things were scheduled to liven up a bit; it was clear that this was something of a breakfast hot-spot as groups of pilots were chatting happily swigging tea and tucking into the traditional “full English” before the call to flight briefing for the day; it was a good opportunity as well for me to renew old acquaintances and meet some of the new Bader recruits. With about 30 minutes to go before the first group of Braves arrival the pilots were called into the meeting room for briefing; there was an awful lot of local air activity scheduled for the day including one or two air shows along with a display nearby by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. However a clear route had been determined and after reminders about any effect the heat may have on flying, everyone left in a very upbeat mood and were full of confidence that this was to be a great day!!

The club had erected a marquee that was to provide welcome shelter from the sun throughout the day as well as the Bader Braves Op’s Room. Right on the scheduled arrival time excited Young Aviators began to appear and once the usual formalities had been completed it was straight into action and the first of the 37 Braves flights that would be made throughout the day taxied out to make final checks and then onto line up ready for take-off.

It wasn’t long before the early morning peaceful breakfast on the lawn was but a distant memory for now the whole place was alive with activity. Quite apart from the Operation Braves there was much more going on; White Waltham is a very busy place on a Sunday with a lot of regular club flying activity as well as guest aircraft flying in from all around the UK and even the continent.

There was now a steady flow of Braves arriving at check in. Jess was busy welcoming everyone, making sure that all the paperwork had been properly completed and handing out the goody-bags before directing them to Tessa and Arthur who were co-ordinating flights. Aircraft were now departing and returning with amazing regularity.

However not only were things hotting up on the activity front but the temperature had been steadily rising throughout the morning and by lunchtime the wind had changed direction. It was becoming slightly more difficult now to allocate people to flights as not only does the Bader Braves Squadron comprise a range of different types of aeroplanes each of which has been volunteered to Bader Braves for the day, but high temperatures such as we were now experiencing, greatly effects the performance of a light aircraft with weights and balances becoming much more critical. Undeterred however, the pilots continued their tasks and no sooner had our morning group been completed than the afternoon Braves started arriving. Fortunately a number of the aeroplanes were in shared ownership with each partner taking a turn at the controls which allowed operations to continue pretty much seamlessly throughout the afternoon.


Around 4.00pm we were down to the last three flights which was just as well as the temperature had now risen to a blistering 28.5c and the wind had dropped considerably making it feel even hotter. By the time flight number 37 landed most of the Braves had left for home and the pilots along with Tessa, Arthur and Jess were able to take a well-earned rest.

As we all gathered round to mull over the day there was the usual display of camaraderie amongst the pilots, sharing of experiences and much laughter; it was quite clear that had been yet another brilliantly successful White Waltham event and, as always, we are indebted to all those who so generously gave their time, effort and aeroplanes and made sure that everyone went home with a big smile.

Just one noticeable difference today though – at the end of the day there was none of the usual cuppas in evidence ………. today it was all ice cold drinks!! IT SURE WAS FLIPPIN’ HOT!!

Well done WLAC and thank you one and all!!



Useful Links: (these will open in separate tabs)

  • Original of White Waltham Report: Please click on the link to download the original version of Keith’s report as a pdf. This can then be printed and saved for your records: /wp-content/uploads/2018/07/WW-KD-Report.pdf
  • Previous Flying Day reports: Keith’s previous Young Aviators Day reports can be found in the Bader Braves News section: /bader-braves-news?future=false. They are all great reads!


As we arrived at the hotel on Friday evening the sun was shining brightly, it was pleasantly warm without being stupidly hot and the forecast for the following day was rather more than encouraging. As we settled into our room the ‘phone rang and the new voice of Bader Braves in the Province, Julie Kitt, was checking that we had arrived safely and updating plans for the following day; she had left no stone unturned and all was ready for a 09.30 start, all we had to do was be at The Ulster Flying Club in good time.

Saturday morning was just as welcoming and promised perfect flying conditions for the Braves; warm, good visibility and very little, if any, wind. By 08.45 everyone was set up and ready to go. Aircraft and pilots were prepared and briefed, ground crews all prepared and as always, tea, coffee and sticky buns were all being tested by the gathered throng awaiting the arrival of the first group of Braves.They didn’t have too long to wait either for the clubhouse was soon buzzing with excited voices all wanting to know “is that my plane mister?” or “will we go through the clouds?”

Most of the flights today were being flown by just two pilots Jonny and Alex both looking far too young to be the experienced airline pilots they were!! (must be a sign of becoming one of the Bader Tribes elders!!). As the waiting Braves were exploring their goodie-bags and trying their tee-shirts for size Julie called the first two Braves forward and escorted them out onto the apron and the awaiting Cessna 172s. Once safely strapped in the engines sparked into life and both aircraft taxied in line to the end of the runway. The first lined up and accelerated away picking up speed to the take off point and as it rose into the clear sunlit sky the second lined up and followed suit.

Tucked into the goody bags was a small glider kit provided by Julie and the club. 

Parents had been press-ganged into the world of aircraft assembly as they carefully followed the construction guide on the glider packets until they were proudly examining their efforts before handing over the finished product to be well and truly tested by the Braves; some performed better than others, some glider pilots quickly found the gliding knack whilst others took a little longer. Before long most of the clubhouse and all of the lawn outside were under attack from Bader Braves Battle Squadron!!

The morning progressed well to plan with Braves, like the aeroplanes, coming and going with amazing regularity. Late morning and when the word went out that the BBQ was now open there was a mass exodus to grab a seemingly endless supply of hot-dogs and burgers each available with or without onions!! Wow, what a treat!! ( I must admit that whilst Jess was busy checking the next group of Braves in as they arrived I skipped around to the side of the building where I would be well out of her sight for an extra juicy banger AND a burger!!!!! ).

We were now into the early afternoon and whilst our pilots took a quick break anotherof the club volunteers, Adam, stepped into relieve them taking one of the flights in his lunch break from his work; he only just 

landed in time to jump back into his car and get back to the office!!! The Cessnas continued their work heading out over Strangford Lough, the waters of which sparkled like jewels in the sun today, before turning to complete their journey to the southern end and then returning up the peninsular passing over the lovely estate at Mount Stewart to home base. By late afternoon the last of the Braves had been flown and our stalwart pilots of the day were busy finalising logs, refuelling and preparing the aircraft for their next assignment at the end of “Operation Bader”.

Everything had now been cleared and The Ulster Flying Club was returning to some semblance of normality following what had been a wonderfully successful Young Aviators Day. Time now for another cuppa and de-brief before we made our own final farewells but not before discussing a possible return (we’ve had more comebacks than Sinatra!!!) in 2019; thankfully Julie, Davy and team UFC have given early indications that all will be well – let’s hope so for this has been a superb day. It always seems that a “thankyou” is scant reward for so much hard work but right now there is little more that can be said so on behalf of all the Braves –




You can click on the link to download a pdf of the above report which you can print and keep for your records! /wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Ulster-KD-Report.pdf

Hull Aero Club Brings Sunshine to Braves! KD Report

As we headed North on the M1 en-route to our Young Aviators Day near Beverley spirits couldn’t have been much lower. The weather was far from promising for our event and every weather bulletin on the radio only served to deepen the gloom as every indication was that the weather for the following day was going to be misty and windy, just what’s not needed for flying!! When we eventually pulled into the airfield car park there was no indication of any improvement; it was really murky and you could hardly see the other side of the airfield, no sign of any flying activity although there was definitely movement in the clubhouse.

Once inside there were the customary greetings, smiles and questions associated with renewing acquaintances after twelve months. Mugs of tea appeared as if by magic but the prognosis for flying the following day was far from encouraging, quite the reverse in fact. There had been no flying here for the past two days and those members hovering around with hope of improvement in their hearts were seemingly hovering in vain as the weather forecast on the big screen offered no hope of improvement. After much discussion as to the best course of action it was decided that Peter would take a short flight later if he could get off just as a recce but all agreed that the best action right now was to caution all of the Braves and advise them not to set off from home the following day until I called them with the “all clear”. Frankly I suspected that I would be calling with a “stay in bed” message.

A lot of work goes into our Young Aviators events especially by the host clubs so it wasn’t surprising that everyone was feeling and looking a little crestfallen by late afternoon. What was surprising however, was the telephone call first thing the next morning. A much more upbeat Peter from the club called to say that weather was good at the airfield and we had a “go” situation! What a relief to in a position to inform everyone that the event was going ahead and on schedule. It took about an hour to let everyone know and then get to the airfield in time to lay stuff out and put up banners and, of course, to have a couple of mugs of airfield tea …. a great way to start the day.

The two aircraft that had been made available to us for the day, a Cessna C172 and a Piper PA28 Arrow, were all ready and right on time at 09.45 the first of our Braves started arriving. Just time for introductions, completion of formalities and then straight into the flying. In the excitement of getting things going we had all forgotten about the terrible weather worries of the previous day for as the first flight of the day took off and disappeared in the direction of the coast, the clouds had cleared, the sky was blue and the sun was glorious … what a difference a day makes!!

As flight number two took to the air the Braves for the next flight were being prepared so as to minimise the turn-round time. Some thirty minutes later the first flight came into sight as it returned towards base, circling the airfield before making its final approach and landing. Once the C172 had come to a stop and the engine was turned off the pilot, Peter, debriefed his passengers before they disembarked and were presented with their flight certificates along with the obligatory photographs. In no time at all Peter was gathering his next Brave and repeating the exercise of his previous flight and as he taxied out the PA28 returned with passengers aboard to go through a similar procedure.

For excited Braves and their families and carers Simon had been busy in the kitchen cooking up plentiful supplies of burgers and chips, ideal grub for intrepid aviators (& mighty fine chips too!!). By mid-day the weather was really doing its bit to make this a perfect day; by now it was really warm, approaching hot even and there wasn’t a hint of cloud overhead. The second wave of Braves had arrived and were well through their session, the pilots treating them to flightsover Hornsea, Skipsea and up to Bridlington or to see the Humber Bridge; those that lived relatively nearby were even treated to an aerial view of their home or school. And so the day continued, lots of excitement, lots of smiles and perfect weather. The final flight landed and disembarked its passengers around 16.30; just right for that last cuppa and farewells.

As always, once everyone has left for home and the aeroplanes have been put away at the end of their days work a strange eeriness descends across an airfield. Hull is no exception but as we sat around with yet another cuppa that eeriness was broken by the laughter of all involved at the club as they discussed the day and some of the questions that the Braves had put to them; there is always one question at least to make you laugh!!! When one of the Braves had completed his flight and excitedly got out of the aircraft claiming the “its been the best day ever, better than our holiday” the pilot was somewhat taken aback when he asked “that’s great, so do you want to be a pilot now?” only to be met with a stark “No”; “an astronaut?” he further quizzed – “No not really”, then the young lad, gazing at one of the members cutting the grass with great precision, chirped up with “I want to be a tractor driver!!”

So the end of a splendid event at this super friendly venue. Thanks are due, as always, to the whole Hull team for making it such a memorable day and for getting the weather sorted just in time – hope to be back in 2019!!

If you’d like a copy of this report to print and keep, please click on the link to download a pdf file, which will open in a new tab:

Hull Flying Day 2018. Hull Aero Club Brings Sunshine to Braves! KD Report

Previous Reports:

Bader Braves Young Aviators Day Schedule 2018

The Douglas Bader Foundation is delighted to be offering 10 Bader Braves Young Aviators Days at locations across the UK  this year.

While we welcome donations from families towards costs, these days are completely free for our Braves and will include lunch. This may be a packed lunch provided by the DBF; refreshments provided by some participating airfields or even occasionally a fight-for-the-last-sausage barbecue depending on the venue! 

You will see from the Programme that all our old favourite venues are there and we are, as always, extremely grateful to all the Flying Clubs and Airfields involved for welcoming us back again. Without their support and the generosity of their pilots and helpers, these wonderful and hugely popular days simply wouldn’t be possible and we thank them all. 

To register:

The Programme is printed below. Please select the event you’d like to attend and complete the registration Form you’ll find for the relevant date in the Bader Braves Events section of the Website. 

 You can read Keith Delderfield’s 2017 resumé by clicking on the link below. It will open up as a pdf in a new tab. It conjures up absolutely the spirit of the Bader Braves Young Aviators Days. We hope that it will give you a taster of the Bader Braves Experience and inspire you to come along and join us. We look forward to meeting you…

These Young Aviators Days are justifiably popular events so we advise you to register your place promptly to avoid disappointment. 

If you have any queries or would like further information you can email the organiser, Keith Delderfield, at


Please click on the link if you’d like to download a Young Aviators Day Flyer. It will open as a pdf in a new tab.