This is the last opportunity to give you all an update in 2017 and I thought I would take a quick look forward to the plans for Navy Wings in 2018. From the core collection we aim to have a Swordfish and the Sea Fury T20 flying for most of the season, except that we will pull the T20 for a planned engine and air-frame inspection at the end of July for about six weeks. This is unavoidable as she has just returned to flight, but we will aim to align this work during the Winter stand-down in 2018, so the flying season is un-interrupted. Navy Wings will continue to keep the Sea Vixen properly maintained so that work can start immediately should the decision be taken to return her to flight. Meanwhile the associate collection continues to grow. We now have fifteen aircraft within the collection and with a fair wind see a Wessex V return to the skies next year. As in 2017, Navy Wings will aim to take a varied collection of naval aircraft, ranging from the Great War to the 1980’s to selected Air Shows around the country, including Yeovilton on 7th July and Shuttleworth Navy Day on 3rd June. The story of naval aviation is a fantastic one and we can assist the RAF in their Centenary next year by helping them tell the story of their birth in 1918, through the amalgamation of the Royal Naval Air Service and the Royal Flying Corps, indeed, as HMS Queen Elizabeth starts to operate aircraft it is also an opportunity to remember the Centenary of the first British aircraft to fly from the deck of a Royal Navy Carrier at sea, a Bristol Scout from HMS Vindex in 1918. Finally, Navy Wings will be working on a plan to support the Royal Navy as they transfer the Historic Flight aircraft to the civil register, with the aim of transferring them into Navy Wings ownership. This will clearly require an uplift in our fund-raising capacity, but it is really important that we achieve this, lest the remaining Swordfish, the Sea Fury FB11 and the Sea Hawk are sold privately and possibly disappear overseas. You, our supporters, are fundamental to this success, so please spread the word amongst your friends and ask them to consider joining Navy Wings, particularly as we can now offer some serious discounts in restaurants and cinema tickets to our supporters.
CEO Jock Alexander