Air League – Youth in Aviation Day 2013

This weekend, myself and my friends stayed over at Bicester Airfield with the Air League for the annual ‘Youth in Aviation Day’. This year it was better than ever, with gliding and powered flight experiences available as well as numerous displays including Lauren Richardson in her Pitts S1-S (G-BKDR) and an incredible dusk display from GliderFX.

So, first things first, if you don’t already know about the Air League, where have you been?! It is a brilliant organisation which offers flying scholarships, aviation related trips and much more! I’ve been a member for a couple of years now and it really is worth it. Bicester airfield, where the event is held each year, is an ex-RAF airfield which is now home to the Windrushers Gliding Club and a lot of un-touched WW2 hangars and buildings which are great to explore!

So, how did our weekend begin? Myself and a couple of good friends were planning on flying in from Shobdon, so bright and early the drive to the airfield began. However, after a well deserved brew and a few checks of the forecast  it soon became apparent that we would be making the journey by car.


We loaded our flight bags and camping equipment into the boot of the Corsa and spent a couple of hours on the road before arriving at Bicester. After a quick drive through the dizzying heights of Bicester town centre, we arrived at the airfield and met up with two good friends who had also driven down earlier in the morning.

With a selection of aircraft on display, as well as a number of stands and seminars on offer, there was plenty on offer for us to do. We were soon treated to a display from Will Hilton in his SA 1100 Silence Twister ‘G-ZWIP’, and were also ‘invited’ to a seminar from CAE Oxford Aviation Academy (very useful if you’d like to speak face to face with staff/students in a more informal setting). As mentioned earlier, gliding, aerobatic gliding and powered flight experiences were available and CTC, RAF Careers, RAeS, RAeC, Aerobility, Brooklands Museum, GAPAN, plus many more organisations were also in attendance.


After spending a few hours talking to various pilots, taking a good look around the stands, watching the displays and popping into Bicester to buy a bottle opener (in preparation for the evening, of course), we were treated to a BBQ and some model aircraft flights. A live band were also playing throughout the evening, which was topped off with a truly stunning pyrotechnic display from GliderFX. To view this, my friends and I retreated to the top of Bicesters abandoned control tower with some plastic chairs where we then stayed for a number of hours, talking aviation and enjoying a few drinks. There simply is no better way to spend a Saturday evening (on the ground, that is)!


The rest of the night/early morning was a surreal experience and so much fun! It involved rope swings, a childs scooter, fanta, wine, a very vocal (and rather messy) french chap, dominos pizza and a couple of hilarious and bizarre incidents. As a prudent pilot, I won’t go into much more detail and let the pictures speak for themselves….

905354_10201160640477172_445176088_oA very poor picture of the stunning GliderFX display!


How aerobatic pilots train!?!

Needless to say, it was an incredible weekend which reminded me why I fell in love with aviation in the first place. It’s not all about the airlines and, although that is of course where I aim to get to, there is a lot more flying that I want to experience in the meantime, in particular gliding and more aerobatics.

A huge thanks to my friends for making this weekend unforgettable, as well as all of those involved at The Air League who organised it all – it was an excellent weekend enjoyed by all who attended.

Over and out!

Nick Lee – “When I grow up I want to be a Pilot” (Guest Blog)

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In the very first Guest Blog, Nick writes about his love of flying and tells us how he started. If you would like to write a Guest Blog, you can contact me by commenting on the site or by tweeting me at @CJBstudentpilot 

All photos in this post belong to Nick Lee.

‘When I grow up I want to be a pilot”!

…A sentence that I didn’t say when I was a child. Flying and becoming a pilot surprisingly wasn’t something I dreamt of doing from a young age, like most people. So, how did it all start out?

I had always been fascinated about aircraft as a young child, but I never really wanted to fly them. I liked the idea of how aircraft could defy gravity and how they could soar high above the earth effortlessly, while taking passengers around the world. I think my main aim was to design aircraft and and become an aircraft engineer.
At school I never worked to the best of my ability, because as teenagers you have so many distractions around you, therefore it is easy to get distracted by the simplest of things such as computer games and social networking sites. Having passed all my GCSEs, it was the next decision to make in life. So September 2010 came around, I went onto studying Aviation at College for two years, having decided I wanted to do something within Aviation. A good month had past and I was really enjoying the course! All the lecturers had previously worked in the aviation industry, therefore they had a lot of raw knowledge of the whole industry It wasn’t until a friend in my class mentioned the words PPL and Flying in class, would I have known anything about learning to fly or becoming a pilot. Later that night after class, I went home and searched about learning to fly and where to start, as the thought of learning to fly really intrigued me. Every night I looked up more and more information about flying and it just dawned on me that I really wanted to become a pilot!
January 2011 came around. My parents kindly enough bought me a trial flight at a my local aerodrome and I was instantly hooked after the one hour flight in the Piper PA28 Warrior III. Exactly a month after my trial flight I startedmy Private Pilots License in the PA28 Warrior III at 16 Years Old. Training was thoroughly enjoyable and I completed my first solo on 12th July 2011. From August 2011-August 2012, I kept on having lessons every now and then. This obviously wasn’t the best for currency and training, but college and other work was really slowing me down. From August 2012, I said to myself that you have to complete your PPL before March 2013. Therefore I studied hard in order to complete the rest of my PPL exams and I finished off with a 94% average between all the 7 exams, which was very surprising! I had also started having lessons again on a weekly basis, which also benefited me a lot. I was also very lucky to have got so many lessons in during the winter period, but it was all down to my instructor pushing me in order to reach my goal. Before you knew it, I was ready for my PPL Skills Test. My skills test was on the 8th December 2012 and yes I was nervous! I won’t talk about the Skills Test too much, but all I will say is that I was tested on everything I learnt during my training. Therefore if you make any mistakes during your test, don’t feel like its an immediate fail, just listen to what the examiner has to say and take everything on-board. At the end of the day, they’re not there to fail you, but to ensure you can operate the aircraft safely and efficiently. At 1415 we landed, just as the horrible weather was approaching and I really didn’t having a clue if I passed or failed! About 5 minutes later, while taxxing back to the apron, the examiner said ‘Ill put you out of your misery…….you PASSED!’ I really wasn’t expecting to hear that! From not knowing I wanted to be a pilot until two years ago, to becoming a pilot. I just felt overwhelmed! This was really the start of the next step in life! (Word of Advice- Just treat the examiner like your instructor/friend and have fun! Good Luck to anyone that’s working towards their skills test!)
Nick taxiing at Perranporth
A month on (January 2013), my EASA PPL License had come through the door and my word was I happy! I had also bought a share in an aircraft in order to start hour building towards my commercial pilots license. As I write this, I am still hour building and enjoying it very much so! It’s truly amazing how I can travel around the UK and Europe in order to visit different airfields and cities and build up my flying experience. Fortunately I have been able to fly a lot recently therefore have had the chance to visit a lot of airfields in the UK. I am also nearing the 100 hour mark! I am due to start my ATPLs in September 2013, this will be 6 months of hard work but it’ll mean I am one step closer towards my dream!
Once again Thank You to ‘thestudentpilotblog’ for letting me write about my experience up till now! And I hope anyone wanting to become a pilot can follow their dream! You can follow my Youtube Channel at or Facebook Page at for the latest updates and flying videos during my hour building and training!
Happy Flying from Nickilaa
Nick at the controls of a PA28 earlier this year