|by Paul Holden, PRO|
15 June 2004
AIRCREW ASSOCIATION ENJOY
ANNUAL FLYING NIGHT
In June the local branch of the Aircrew Association held their annual Flying Night, where Instructors and Club Pilots from Fairoaks Flying Club provide short trips round the local area for members and their friends and families. On this occasion they were honoured with a visit from ACA National President Air Marshal Sir Christopher Colville KCB BA FCIPD FRAeS, pictured with Flying Desk Operator Doug Hudgell (left) and Branch Chairman Eric Smith GM (right).
About 200 members and guests were present, and a very smooth operation flew 120 passengers in 11 aircraft within around 2½ hours, followed by a sumptuous buffet.
In a short speech afterwards, Sir Christopher assured the former aircrew present, from his experience as Air Member for Personnel and Commander in Chief Personnel and Training, that the young recruits coming into the service are as excellent as ever, and will always ensure that the RAF, though it is not the largest air force, will always be the equal of the best. It was nice that Lady Irene was also able to be present, and met and talked with many members.
He was able to dispel a number of myths about the RAuxAF and bring members up to date with the realities of life in the reserve service, which comprises some 2,500 personnel in 20 Squadrons spread around the country, who have a high level of commitment. They are required to train for a minimum of 27 days per year, including 15 days continuous training, and weekends. They mostly provide specialist ground tradespeople - Medical, Intelligence, Flight Ops Assistants, MT Drivers, Operations Headquarters, Supplies etc, for support on exercises, and indeed on operations, as in Afghanistan and Iraq. In 606 Squadron, they also train people in helicopter handling and as Landing Point Controllers.