Air Vice Marshal A J Stables CBE FRAeS
The PresidentSquadrons are the very lifeblood of the Royal Air Force; they are both fighting units and families. Like all families there is the odd disagreement from time to time, but this is more than compensated for by that unity, trust and deep and lasting friendship that is present when like minded people are drawn together within that family – the squadron. I have certainly shared a good part of my life with Number 18(B) Squadron, over ten years in fact. For uniquely, perhaps, within the Royal Air Force I have served four separate flying tours with the Squadron in four different ranks; in the late 60s as a Flying Officer in Acklington and Odiham flying Wessex, in the early 70s as a Flight Lieutenant in Gutersloh again flying Wessex, in the mid 70s as a Squadron Leader again in Gutersloh and again flying the Wessex, and finally as a Wing Commander in Odiham and Gutersloh flying Chinook.
Not surprisingly therefore I have a special affection for the ‘Red Pegasus’ and I am delighted to have been asked to become the President of your Association. Our growth and success will, be dependent upon your support. You, the former members, have been 18(B) Squadron during the past 40 years and all of you will have a story to tell – the newsletter provides the opportunity! So please do it and lets hear from you. We also, of course, need to ‘grow’ the membership. So please spread the word. Group Shot Group Shot before lunchOn 11 May the annual reunion was Held at RAF Odiham. 38 voting members attended the AGM and 60 sat down to a buffet lunch in the Officer’s Mess. The morning started at 0945 with tea, coffee and biscuits in the sqn History room
The present Squadron members have taken that important step to form the Association and it is now a matter for us, the former members, to make it work. I know that you will all share my affection for Number 18(B) Squadron and I welcome you as members of and participants in our Association. Lets do it. As there was a quorum of Association Members in one location, the opportunity was taken to hold the first Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Association - rather than describe what was decided, a copy of the Minutes is enclosed. After the AGM, a short journey was made across the airfield as the Members were treated to a fly past from a venerable Canberra of No 39 Squadron before the official Chinook flying display
The display crew, again from 18(B) Sqn, and this year Captained by Flight Lieutenant Carl Zarecky, really put the aircraft through its paces, and demonstrated the agility and capability of the mighty Wokka Then it was back to the Sqn, where Members were given Major Porter talking of the hangar and facilities, before photographs were taken and the moment we had all been waiting for, the opening of the bar. Pre-lunchdrinks allowed conversation to start flowing before the formal Anniversary Luncheon.
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Why we are fascinated about aviation
Have you ever been flying on an airplane? Was it exciting or just lame and boring? Were you jetlagged? Do you know how an airplane works? Wouldn't it be much funnier if there was internet on airplanes? Once I traveled from the USA to Australia, it's a really long flight, and an old man that was sitting next to me asked me: "Do they have that here?". I started smiling but he was dead - serious, so I answered: "Unfortunately, no." He seamed to be disappointed. For those who have flown on an airplane and know that it's lame, boring and nothing really interesting happens, we have only one thing to say: you were not on the right kind of airplanes. Think about that.
The Wright brothers started everything back in 1903. Of course there were some ideas before them, like those from Leonardo da Vinci and Newton, but the real breakthrough happened first in 1903. That is the year when the Wright brothers built the first plane and flew with it, that is recognized as "the first sustained and controlled heavier - than - air powered flight".
George Cayley's models of planes, dating from 1799, were those who used as the main idea for the Wright brothers' first plain. Between the years 1867 - 1896, Otto Lilienthal, which is known as the German pioneer of human aviation, also studied heavier - than - air flight and many see him as the father of today's airplanes. He built and flew the first air glider. As you see the first usable airplane was built in year 1903. That is just before the First World War started. But the planes, called military planes, won't be used that much until the World War II. Airplanes will play a huge role in almost every bigger battle in that period.
Are people really that much afraid of airplanes? About 1 in 5 people have a fear of flying, it is called “aviophobia". If you are one of those than you should know the following facts: Much more people die from car accidents during the year then in those involving airplanes. Here is the proof that the ground is much more dangerous: One of the worst airplane accidents happened on the ground. In 1977, two planes that were fully loaded with a total of over 600 passengers crashed head-on in the middle of the runway. We remember this accident as the Tenerife Accident, due to the place it occurred: Tenerife Island.Over 500 people died. If you are still not convinced then you should know that based on Popular Mechanics, being in the tail of an airplane enhances the chances to survive to an accident by 40%.
Have you ever been on an airport, felt and saw the rush and people? Well unless you were on these three, you don't know what a crowd on airports is. With over 96 million passengers a year Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the world's busiest airport. That means 265.000 passengers every day. The Beijing Capital International Airport is with 86 million passengers a year on second place. However, Chicago’s O’Hare airport is considered to be the most crowded and busiest one in the world. That is because of the number of take offs and landings.
The latest version of the 18(B) Sqn Association newsletter is available in PDF format and can be viewed and downloaded by Clicking Here
The 18(B) Sqn Association application form is available in PDF format for you to print and send, Click Here for a form
The minutes from the 18(B) Sqn Association Annual General Meeting are available in PDF format and can be viewed and downloaded by Clicking Here
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