Ian N Ford FRSH (addvent@DIRCON.CO.UK)
Sun, 7 Jun 1998 22:02:07 +0100
I thought I would share the events of this weekend with you. Each year
there is an Air Fair at Biggin Hill Airport just outside London. As in
previous years Air Scouts and other Scouts were on the service team,
including several Scouts and leaders fron T401 (American Schol in London).
The Scouts work in shifts, ninety minutes on and ninety minutes off, so
they get to see at least part of the show free, offer valuable service
and provide good public relations for Scouting.
The main job of the Scouts is to act as a " visible deterrent " to
protect the aircaft parked around the airfield. As usual the Scouts, some
as young as twelve, did an excellent job. Most visitors are plane
spotters who are willing to co-operate, and there are always adults to
back up in the event of problems.
We have a hut on the airfield which is used during the year. Air Scout
leaders and youth lead visits by Cub Scouts, Scouts and other youth
groups. The content varies ... a few weeks ago the Cubs were taken in the
reserve fire truck a few at a time for a short trip up the taxiway and back,
complete with klaxon and blue lights. At other times we borrow a light
aircraft and the kids can sit in the front and learn how the controls
Last year we were given the cockpit of the first BOAC Comet to fly the
Atlantic, which was also used by Queen Elizabeth II on a royal visit to
Canada. It was used as a flight simulator until it was retired from service.
We now have the cockpit with instrument panel, control yokes, rudder etc.
in our hut, and volunteers are working to wire up the electrics.
Eventually we hope to include taped engine noises and maybe airband radio.
This weekend we had a leader who is a PPL holder and also works for an
airline, and he took the Air Scouts through the instruments.
We get asked to do all sorts of things ... the strangest was today when
one of the vintage aircraft developed an engine fault. Whilst trying to
locate the proper test rig one of the engineers came up with an old
" rough and ready " test which included putting wine bottle corks in each
cylinder of the eighteen cylinder engine, and seeing if it developed
enough pressure to blow the corks out. I was on duty by the hanger,
and ended up going in search of corks. I went to the various corporate
hospitality tents, and asked for any corks ... in the end I was a few
short, and ended up rummaging in garbage sacks to make up the number.
In the end they managed to find a test rig, but the plane now carries a
set of corks as a backup !
I was really impressed by the way in which the youngsters carried out their
duties in a way that brought cedit to themselves and the Movement.
ADC(Adult Training) Greenwich District Scout Council
Air Activities Team member, Scout County of Greater London South
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City