They say every cloud has a silver lining but it looks very like our Open Day request has been lost in a cloud of smoke; apparently our go-between at the Long Kesh site has been told not to expect to hear anything this year!! Not being people who give up that easily, your Committee are looking at alternatives that could bypass the present obstacle. It will be a brave move on our part as it would of necessity have to be a smaller event – watch this space.
I would like to think that you will be reading this before the AGM which takes place at CIYMS on Wednesday 22nd March and I would like to think that you will be there. It is your chance to find out exactly what your Committee have been doing during 2016 and to find out what 2017 might hold in store for all of us. Already 2017 has got off to a flying start; never have I seen so much activity at the hangars during our ‘closed’ months and already the visits are flooding in for March and April, many of which are school visits. This is right up our street, as an educational charity the younger generation is the one to whom we need to show how and where aviation began on this island, how it developed, how it benefited us all, how it helped not only us but the whole world through the dark days of two World Wars, the pioneers, the innovators and finally where we are today. It is a remarkable story and we, can not only tell it, but show some of it and make it real by letting kids touch it, smell it and actually sit in it! It is why we do what we do and I can tell you now that we do it so well, our reputation has spread far and wide far beyond the borders of the UK.
Like our reputation, the ‘draw’ of the Spitfire is still extremely strong but I believe this year will see us restrict its appearance to specific events. We have worked tirelessly over the last three years to try and fulfil as many requests as we could, which has not only taken a toll on our team but also on the aircraft itself and we now have other exhibits we can take in its place. That is not to say we have not been working on the aircraft – you can get the update in the Heritage News section.
We have had and still have a number of members who have been/are suffering from illnesses some serious, some not so serious – I know you will join me in wishing them well and letting them know we are thinking about them.
May I join our editor in applauding the arrival of Norwegian Air on the New York route. Whilst it’s a little bit like the airports that Ryanair fly into in Europe, after seven hours what’s another hour’s travelling? It’s a brave decision by Norwegian CEO Bjorn Kjos and I’m sure we all wish Norwegian Air and BIA the very best of everything for their future partnership.