With only a few days remaining before the Christmas celebrations begin in earnest we had out final sortie of 2018 to conduct, flying father Christmas into Naomi House and Jacks Place one of our charities. This is almost certainly one of the most rewarding events in our calendar and this time the privilege of flying the big man fell to the dynamic duo.
Well that's pretty much it for 2018, we've recently ticked off Brize Norton and Cranwell and held a few events whereby interested parties have been able to explore Bourne Park – our base.
So, as the autumnal cloak descends over the UK we will gradually retreat into the hangar and join our engineers to help try and get even more Gazelles on to the show circuit for 2019.
July and early August have gone in a flash.
We've been relatively quiet over recent weeks with no high profile events since Yeovilton, but we have still been busy and occupying ourselves with aircraft husbandry and in the next few days we'll be donning our overalls and finishing the decorating of the crewroom and briefing facilities at Bourne Park
Mid July and we're into something of a quiet period. Weston, Medway and of course Yeovilton were immense with huge crowds inspired by the fantastic weather we're enjoying lately.
Images of these event taken by our own photographers can be found in our new photo album feature here. (Or under events in the navigation menu.)
This will be populated with historic events in due course.
Mid June and the Squadron is fully committed, we've had a fantastic early start to the summer with succesful visits to Abingdon and Shuttleworth and of course a fantastic weekend at RAF 100 at Cosford, where our new pairs display routine was well received.
We recently flew 94 year old Ian Kerr-Bonner, and ex WW2 Glider pilot from Pembroke to Maidstone in order that he could pay his final respects to his lifelong friend Des Page (RIP). It was an absolute privilege for the Squadron, many of whom are ex Army Air Corps to become involved in such an emotional and worthwhile event.
On June 15th the Squadron will fly WW2 Glider Pilot veteran, 94 year old Ian Kerr-Bonner from Pembroke to Kent in order that he may attend the funeral of his lifelong friend Des Page.
As the show confirmations begin to land on the doormat, it's clear that we will be very busy this year.
Recent weeks has seen a lot of activity in support of our charities, we've hosted an event for BLESMA, we've delivered chocolate and the Easter Bunny to the children at Naomi House and we've facilitated school visits in support of Julia's House.
We've been busy!
We've finished our mandatory ground training for 2018 and are now starting to turn our attention towards adding to our list of display qualified pilots and improving our display routine with an added emphasis on pleasing the photographers amongst you.
We've currently got 3 aircraft fully serviceable with the prospect of a 4th on the horizon. Bourne Park is a cold place at the best of times, however the recent extreme conditions has tested even the hardiest of souls and we applaud loudly the endeavours of our fantastic engineers.
Happy New Year from the team.
Over the final months of 2017 we've been busy converting aircraft radios, cleaning and polishing helicopters servicing our ground support equipment and in a week or so we'll be getting together for the first of our pre-season training days. Generally the first training day of the season will include our mandatory training, helicopter handling, airfield health and safety, First Aid, Flight Safety briefs and an update on the forthcoming season. All members of the team undergo the mandatory training.
The Gazelle Squadron and the wider rotary community are mourning the loss of Mike Green who sadly lost his life in yesterday's mid-air collision over the skies of Buckinghamshire.
Mike has been flying for many decades and was a pilot and instructor of immense military and civilian experience, there are numerous helicopter pilots within the UK who have been trained or assessed by him over the years.
Rotary aviation mourns the loss of a true gentleman and we send our prayers, thoughts and deepest condolences to his family.
Rest in Peace Mike.