December 2015

  • Visit from Steve Slater, the new CEO of the LAA
  • Strut Member Steve Hutt elected to the LAA Board
  • Across The Pond – First Flight to First Flight!  Paul Reilly ticks one off his bucket list in the USA
  • Christmas Offers from Henstridge
  • Upcoming Events

Visit from Steve Slater, the new CEO of the LAA

Steve Slater

At the November meeting we had a visit from Steve Slater, the new CEO of the LAA.  I hope visits from a new CEO isn’t going to become a regular occurrence!  Actually Steve gave the impression of being a stayer; combination of age and previous long term exposure to aviation organisations (he is a long term member and past chairman of the Vintage Aircraft Club) making him very aware of what he is taking on.  He was very complementary about his predecessor, saying that there had been a good handover process.  Philip Hall had started some important initiatives and made constructive changes, leaving the association in good shape.

He started his talk in an up-beat way: “Nothing wrong with the LAA that more flying won’t fix!”  As we are a flyers club, we should be bringing on board the PA28 clubs and pilots.  However, he made the inevitable comments about the age of membership (62-65) and suggested that young blood is 40.

He ran through current changes and issues; disbanding of the National Council, work on engineering processes, the LAA Wings Scheme.  There was a good discussion on these with questions and comment from the floor.

Next year will be the LAA’s (previously PFA) 70th year.  He is looking for celebratory ideas for both struts and nationally.

Strut Member Steve Hutt elected to the LAA Board

From the LAA News Page:

Stephen Hutt has most recently made a valuable contribution to the LAA as programme co-ordinator of the FASVIG, Future Airspace Strategy VFR Implementation Group and has a professional background which includes over 30 years of working in information technology, principally with British Airways.In addition to Marcus and Stephen, LAA Chairman Brian Davies and Treasurer Winston Lee were also elected for additional three-year terms of office.

Across The Pond – First Flight to First Flight!

So what on your flying bucket list….?? Flying across the English Channel, taking your Father for a flight or maybe flying into a special airfield. For me, I have a few items that I have able to tick off while being in the US. So far, I have done a beach landing, flown into Yellowstone national park, past Mount Rushmore and to OshKosh but one item became very possible after my relocation to South Carolina.PR5

About 300 miles north of Charleston is an airfield that should be on any pilots bucket list. The airfield goes by a number of names, KFFA, First Flight Airport, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills or the Wright Brothers Memorial Airstrip. The weather looked good on the Halloween weekend so we set off north-east.

The flight itself northbound was one of the most boring flights I have done, flying over flat, tree covered areas of nothingness. Prior to getting to our destination we went into Elizabeth City to uplift some fuel. This airfield is surrounded by restricted areas as it has radar stations, odd looking military buildings and military blimps with a massive coastguard station taking up most of the airfield.PR1

Onward to our night stop for the night I was anxious to make a good landing. I had heard that the airfield usually has a crosswind, is hard to find due to it being surrounded by trees which cause strong wind shear as you drop below them. How bad would it be mess up a landing here. If the Wright Brothers did it then so should I !?!?

Fortunately none of this came up to much on a calm and clear evening landing and pulled off a ‘greaser’. We took the opportunity to grab some poignant aircraft / self-photos before tying the aircraft down and heading for the hotel. The area is a small spit of land and is also known as the Outer Banks which is a very popular holiday destination over the summer period but the area was slowing down as we visited so could find a nice hotel only 15 minute’s walk from the airfield.PR2

The airfield is right next to the national parks service site that has the monument at one end on top of the sand dune that was used by Wilbur and Orville for their glider aircraft testing. Down the centre of the site is a long way, allowing you to absorb the magnitude of the events, then a stone marking the take off point. Along a line is markers signifying the marker points of the first 4 flights. I didn’t realise on the 17th December 1903 they did 4 flights, starting at 120 feet, finishing with a final flight of 853 feet, significant improvement. On the site they have recreated the cabin and ‘hangar’ more like a shed that the Brothers used. This is supported by a small museum which houses some great artefacts and a replica of the Wright Flyer, as the original is in Washington DC.PR3

After a morning wandering the site it was time to head off and route ourselves on a much more enjoyable route along the coast. The Outer Banks continues for another 60 miles south and afforded us some great views of white sandy beaches and aquamarine waters. The sand spit has a few other airstrips along the way and Okracoke , the most southern one was to be our lunch stop with a pub only 10 minute’s walk from the airfield. If walking isn’t your thing, just give them a call and the come to pick you up in a golf buggy. The area had a feel of a sunny afternoon on the Isle of Wight.PR4

After a good seafood lunch it was time to head home with an easy 2 ½ hour flight back to our home-base, just before darkness. A beautiful location and with a beautiful airfield and monument. If you get chance to fly or drive to this area, go tick it off the list

Paul Reilly

Christmas Offers from Henstridge

From Geoff Jarvis – Henstridge Airfield Owner

No Change on Decembers fuel price… = £1.49 inc VAT
We already have free landings  in Flyer and LAA magazine with voucher for December and up to and including the 3rd Jan.
But Henstridge are  offering a further discount from 27th Dec to 3rd Jan inclusive to  £1.45 a litre inc VAT
 Further anyone picking up more than 100 litres (AVGAS and UL91 ) in the same period ( and it doesn’t have to be at one filling) gets a free breakfast claimable any weekend in January..
Free tea and coffee for that period…too
 We are offering free tie down for anyone  December and January (helpful with those who may have a potentially waterlogged field/strip)
 And I’m also going for a New years day Fly-in..Bangers and mash,beans or gravy at £4 a head

Upcoming Events

For the latest list of events, go to the Events page on the Strut website.

Please suggest/volunteer to organize some more. 🙂