On Thursday 7th of January we were lucky enough to have Simon Wilson of the Royal Navy Historic Flight host an evening for our members. We had a great turn out for the evening and Simon held everyone’s attention as he spoke with great knowledge, passion and loyalty for RNHF.
Si first flew in an aircraft at the age of 6 with his father who was a flying instructor. Hooked on flying he went solo at age 17 and joined the Fleet Air Arm in 2002. With various Lynx Small Ships Flights behind him he became part of the Flight Crew for Historic Flight.
Si covered alot over the course of the evening, he spoke of the aircraft on the Historic Flight and their serviceability state. The maintenance on the Sea Hawk is on hold due to lack of resources and is now going into storage. Most of their energy and monies are being concentrated into getting their 2nd Swordfish up and running. With only 500 hrs on an engine they are very limited to the hours they can fly and therefore have to use G-registered aircraft to practice. The owners of these privately owned aircraft pay for all the maintenance. Thankfully and in their favour, Military Pilots can count front and back seat hours to keep in currency, so this does reduce the pull slightly on engine hours and finances.
You will all know and have read about the heroic actions of Lt Cdr Chris Gotke at Culdrose Airshow, his amazing flying skills saved the Sea Fury, but it did still sustain a lot of damage. Simon informed us that the aircraft is now up in North Weald and they are struggling to find parts, those parts they do find are extremely expensive. They have taken to making the parts for the aircraft now but with that comes the anguish of whether the Military Aviation Authority (MAA) will approve them.
The Royal Navy gives RNHF £225,00, RNHF running costs are £700,000, leaving a shortfall of £475,00 that the trust has to find. We put a ticket price of £10 on the evening to give something back to RNHF for Si’s time. You were all very willing to do that without hesitation, so thank you very much for your generosity. Together with the remainder of monies raised from Emma and Michelle’s Wing Walk, Si left with £855.70. In his words “We would have been chuffed with £50 let alone £850 so thank you very much for having us”. A relatively small contribution in the grand scheme of things but like Si said it all helps significantly to reducing the shortfall and it helps to raise awareness of the trust, so big pat on the back to you guys. We still have more to come too, and will be making the RNHF our 2016 charity, raising money throughout the year.
Club Evenings take a lot of work to put in place and play on people’s goodwill and generosity to volunteer us their knowledge and time. Thank you on behalf of us all in Ops for giving this evening your full support. Our next one is the GASCO evening on the 1st February.