Written by Goodwood Aeroclub Member – Max Tams
The past, present and future of aviation was tangible within the room. The questions asked by the children were so intelligent and searching – it really showed a deep interest in flying and aircraft that belied their age range of 8 to 10 years.
The day started with an introduction to Goodwood, a familiar name to these local children from Boxgrove Primary, Jessie Younghusband & Prebendal schools.
Once seated comfortably the day began – a talk from the UK Space Agency about space & local hero Tim Peak from Chichester.
This talk encompassed, not only the obvious connections to space – Astronaut Training – but also introduced the notion of the vast array of people and skills that get rockets off the ground and the array of payloads those rockets carry – from human beings, pushing the boundaries of human endeavour to science in space and satellites. The talk also included a lot of important lessons for life, such as the need for exercise, fresh air and the effects of dehydration and how to recognise the symptoms.
To the background of Morgan cars on the motor circuit, the children had a short break before having a talk from a pilot who flies the Jumbo for Virgin Atlantic – Stuart Rawlinson – who is also an instructor for the Goodwood Flying School. This was an exciting talk and I think that a number in the audience will consider a career in aviation on the strength of it!
It was fascinating to hear of what life is like as a long-haul pilot and also learned the roles and how to recognise the team that enables these flights to be conducted safely and in comfort… We were told of the fascinating facts about the Boeing 747 which surprised us all. For example the 74’ has carried more people in one go than any other airliner – over 1000! Extraordinary!
After a civilised lunch, on the grass overlooking the motor circuit and the airfield the group was split in two. The first headed back inside to learn about aviation great – Amy Johnson and the travels of ‘Jason’ her DH Moth- looking back at the inspiring stories of the past – these all important stories that inspire future generations with the spirit of adventure and the wonderful courage that is universal and timeless.
While the other group went to have a look at an active airfield and feast their eyes on the wonderful array of aircraft old and new that the Goodwood hangars house.
By the end of the tour all parties knew the difference between a Nose-wheel and Tailwheel aircraft, a high wing and lowing and the biplane! Elite helicopters opened up the doors of their Jet Ranger and supervised the children as they clambered aboard!
Boultbee kindly opened their doors and I think I speak the truth when I say it was a major highlight to see the Spitfire ‘City of Exeter’ at such close quarters – needless to say this also presented a wonderful photo opportunity to sum-up the days visit.
Personally I found the day most educational and fascinating and I look forward to seeing perhaps a few of these same faces when they return for flying lessons in the future!
Thanks to the RAeS and UK Space for organising such a wonderful event and Goodwood for hosting the aviators of tomorrow!
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