I am the Aviation Director of Air Atlantique Ltd, who operate the Avro Anson G-VROE on behalf of the Classic Aircraft Trust, a new charity devoted to keeping iconic vintage aircraft like this operational, in the air where they belong. This time of year is very hectic as we prepare for and participate in airshows across the UK, displaying the Trust’s aircraft both as static exhibits and as with the Airshow at National Museum of Flight, in the air.
What do I do? Well, my role is to promote the aircraft to display organisers initially, as we want the public to see them: they are in reality our shop window. Once bookings are confirmed I then liaise with the organisers over fees, fuel, crew accommodation and the type of display required. There is a mountain of paperwork to go through for each organiser given the litigious world of Health and Safety and the regulatory environment in which we live.
Once all the boxes have been ticked, in the final days leading up to a display it is time to ensure that the aircraft are serviceable and the crew are current, and to organise the positioning flights where required. In National Museum of Flight’s case, this is a long flight from Coventry so we need to decide whether to stop and refuel or whether we can make it in one sector, and what other support is required, such as engineers, our ground support team for selling membership and promoting the Trust, etc.
Often we need to position several aircraft and because of the peculiarities of our vintage types there are only a few authorised pilots so I might find myself flying one of our aircraft or possibly a support aircraft to a show as well. For Farnborough Airshow this year I did both!
Jon Corley our Chief Pilot will our display pilot for the weekend, and I will join him during the transit flight to Edinburgh so that I can help out with the commentary and be present as a representative on the ground as the Aircraft cannot land at National Museum of Flight – yet more logistics to be resolved. We have just finished a major schedule of airshows, with Duxford, RAF Cosford, RAF Waddington, RNAS Yeovilton, RIAT at RAF Fairford and Farnborough FIA 2012 all on consecutive weekends, involving up to eight aircraft, plus numerous smaller events in between, so we are really looking forward to a relaxing transit flight and a slightly less hectic schedule over Airshow at National Museum of Flight.
See you there.