Some of the community-oriented aspects of aviation at Lee-On-Solent.
Solent Microlight Group News - Supporting the Community (Cliff Shorter)
"The Solent Microlight Group actively encourages the sport of Microlight Flying at Lee and values the opportunity to support the community through aviation. During the past year the group has helped raise many thousands of pounds for the Help for Heroes Charity.
In May SMG held the first FLY-IN at Lee for several years, this again was a charity BBQ event with all proceeds going to Naomi House Children’s Hospice at Winchester.
To encourage an interest in flying amongst young people, the Group held an open evening at their hangar for local Cub Scouts. Also, the Group has flown several members of BBC South Today production team to highlight awareness in the media of microlight flying at Lee on Solent. 90-year old Jack Higgins enjoyed a memorable flight over the Solent with Cliff Shorter - see Jack's Magnificent Day!
Portsmouth Naval Gliding Centre - Community Involvement (Martin Henegan)
The airfield provides recreational flying (gliding) to Service/MoD personnel and their families as well as courses for potential officers/pilots in the RN. In addition the trial lessons are enjoyed by a large number of local people (300+/year) who take to the air for special occasions (birthday/retirement etc) along with Marie Curie and St. Dustan’s sponsored events.
Last but not least are the regular members of the club (200+) the majority of whom live locally.
Flyers from Lee will be supporting the Starlight Foundation at Popham, 20th Aug 2009. (David Skertchly)
Every year at Popham the Starlight Foundation organise a day where Pilots take seriously ill children and their families for short flights to take their mind off the issues of having seriously ill children. Aircraft from all over Hampshire converge at Popham for the event. There is fair ground atmosphere with entertainments and picnics laid on.
Dave says it is a day of mixed emotions, it is such fun with the children, yet incredibly sad knowing inevitably that some of the sickest children may not be flying next year. He confesses to the odd tear shed in loo between flights. Nevertheless a great day is had by all.
Lee Flying Association (LFA) - Championing Aviation at Lee-On-Solent (Jon Butts)
Malcolm Barton organised a fly-in for the International Federation of Flying Rotarians, which involved ten visiting aircraft and their crews. LFA did not have their own premises at that time but were able to host the visitors thanks to tremendous support from PNGC Tony World.
The event was also very well supported by Hampshire Police Authority Support Unit, and CHC Helicopter who provided visits to their respective aircraft, for which we are most grateful.
LFA donated a pleasure flight with Phoenix Aviation as a prize for the raffle run by Solent Microlight Group (Cliff Shorter) at the 2009 PNGC Annual Dinner. This was won by a dinner guest of a PNGC member, who thoroughly enjoyed seeing the local area from the air. Phoenix CFI Steve Cockshott donated his CPL pilot services at no charge - thanks Steve.
Members of the LFA also support Veteran WW2 Airmen by flying them at no charge to a large renunion called Project Propellor, which is held each summer on a different airfield 'somewhere in England'. It is a real privilege to fly the veterans - they LOVE it and can still fly very well themselves in many cases! Being part of assembling two or three hundred veterans for a special day together is also a fabulous way to honour them and the memory of their many, many fallen comrades.
These are remarkable people. It is incredibly humbling to meet them, learn of their experiences and realise what spirit that generation had then, and retains today. It can be a long day but is the very least we could do for this dwindling band of aviation brothers.
From the Project Propellor website: "A word of appreciation from we veterans for the flying you organized. It was kind of you to arrange these flights, and the pleasure we drew from the experience. It was even more pleasurable not being shot at during the time we were airborne."