Youth & Education Support

 YES  Profile


    Youth and Education Support (YES) - Working Together 

     There must be many LAA members who have considered building from scratch, and in some ways that’s what the members of Youth & Education Support have done.   For much of the past 10 years it has been developing initiatives, resources and activities, and growing a group of dedicated pilots, enthusiasts and educators to encourage young people to take part in all sorts of activities connected with aviation, to ensure continuity for our hobby.

     Air experience flights have long been the reward for young enthusiasts, and there are many stories told by the ‘old guys’ of ‘stowaway’ flights given surreptitiously to youngsters by service aircrew in more informal times.  Many aircraft owners have treated youngsters to their first flight and in 1992 the EAA Young Eagles scheme was launched to provide a structure to these flights.  The PFA contributed some thousands of first flights towards the EAA’s successful aim to fly 1 million youngsters by the Centenary of Powered Flight in December 2003.   
    Since then, our own LAA Young Aviator scheme has been launched, and has continued to provide hundreds of children each year with an introduction to light aircraft flying. 
   In the Popular Flying magazine of Nov/Dec 1997, Brian Hope wrote of the formation of an Education Group to develop a “single national education programme …. to cover the full spectrum from playschool to adult”.  Well, we’ve made a start on it, and have diversified from the Education Tent of the PFA Rallies in the early ‘noughties’ into a veritable tree of country-wide opportunities. 

    2003 saw the start of the UK Youth Build-a-Plane Project, an ambitious undertaking with the construction of a RANS S6 built by Explorer Scouts and four ATC Squadrons from Lisburn in Northern Ireland , Mold in Wales , Perth in Scotland and Manchester in England , overseen by Project Director Stewart Luck.  Registered G-TSOB, “The Spirit of Brooklands” first flew in the summer of 2005.
     This quickly encouraged the second BaP project, an X-Air Hawk sponsored by experienced builder and LAA member Tim Gilmour-White, which is registered G-SPDY,  “Spirit of Devon Youth”.  This aircraft was also built by Scouts and Air Cadets, but this time working in Devon , and first flew in 2009. 
Throughout the build projects, opportunities have been taken to display the progress so far, and BaP1 made static appearances at the Farnborough Airshow in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010, on the last two occasions partnered by G-SPDY.  

     Discussions in 2008 with the Royal Aeronautical Society led to their teaming up with Boeing- UK to run Build-a-Plane projects known as The RAeS/ Boeing Schools Build-a-Plane Challenge.  Two school projects are underway, with two more RANS S6 aircraft, one at Yateley School near Farnborough (supported by members of the Royal Berkshire Strut) and the other based at Marling School in Stroud (supported by members of the Gloster Strut).  Both teams have organised sub-assembly work in other local schools, spreading the impact and the knowledge gained with these adventurous projects, which are being run within a company structure to give added educational value. 

     Boeing- UK have released funding for four further aircraft, and the winners of the 2010 schools competition, The Bridge Learning Campus at Bristol and Ercall Wood Technology School, Telford were announced at the Farnborough Airshow.  Two more schools have now received their projects, New Academy and Ernesford Grange, while Yateley and Court Moor's project has now flown.

      The Build-a-Planes have been on static display at many other airshows and events, both major and minor, attracting a great deal of interest and public appreciation. To allow youngsters of all ages to experience other aspects of aviation, a range of activities and displays have been developed, from pedal planes for the youngest, through model gliders and rubber-powered planes to a practice radio procedure booth and a seat in the aircraft cockpit for a ‘conducted tour’ of the controls.    We hope they may fly as a fleet at Farnborough in 2014.

     At the Fairford RIAT Airshow weekend in 2009 the first pedal plane ‘Derby’ was held, and over 100 foam-plate gliders were made, with many members of the public being able to find out what the LAA is all about and how easy it is to get flying.  RIAT continues to be a very popular show, and we now have an enthusiastic group making air-powered rockets.

     Scout Aviation Camps offer a wonderful opportunity for learning about Meteorology, Navigation and Aeronautics, with the help of local pilots, then the Scouts each use their newly acquired knowledge to plan a flight and navigate their pilot around the course.  The first was set up in 2004 at Calcot, and the scheme has expanded considerably since, with six events planned so far for 2013. 

     The support of the pilots is particularly appreciated – it simply wouldn’t be the same experience for the scouts without the flight.  The group has produced inexpensive aviation protractors and scale rulers to help with the navigation tasks, and the practice radio units are used to learn R/T procedures. 

Liaison with Schools has been developed through Airfield Enterprise Days, where school groups visit a nearby airfield and are introduced to the various companies working there.  Tours of the hangars and talks from aircraft hire companies, aerobatics teams and individual aircraft owners interest and inform the wide age-range of pupils and hopefully inspire some to consider a career in aviation.  Other help for schools has involved visits and workshops in navigation, aviation maths and air-traffic control exercises, development of curriculum materials, and the Free Flights for Teachers and Pupils scheme whereby a visit to the airfield includes some flying. 

     Lessons have been developed for use with an interactive whiteboard to develop such skills as ground feature recognition for VFR navigation, offsetting for drift, overhead joins, use of the phonetic alphabet, planning a flight and a number of other activities.  These can be made available for group training, Aviation Camps and other events. 

      Another recent initiative is the annual Education Conference, where delegates from other organisations such as the BGA, BMFA, Scouts, Cadets, Brooklands Museum Education Service, Youth Careers join together to share information on their activities and how youngsters can join in. Five of these have run so far, and a sixth is planned for Sat 27th April 2013. 

     News, information, publicity and a resource and activity library are held on the YES web-site at, while a Wiki at allows anyone approved to add information on all aspects of aviation education.  These also hold details of flying scholarships and bursaries as well as reports of conferences and events.   Communication between members is mainly through the LAA-YES Yahoo group; email to join.   A new website has been established at aimed at young flyers, and there is a quarterly magazine and facebook and twitter sites.

     If you have helped develop or deliver the aviation education over the past decade, thank-you for your help, and we hope you will continue to support YES.  If you are not yet a member, and would like to join or find out more, get in touch for a chat.  You can email or phone 01761-490653.   Membership of YES is free, and as with other clubs is also open to non-LAA members.     Our motto is “Working Together”, and we will continue with this aim in 2013 with a full programme of activities, which you can see elsewhere in the Events Diary.

David Hall, April 2013



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