AIR ACES: A stunning talk to a packed audience

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Speaking at the Air Aces March meeting, Wing Commander (Ret’d) Bill Ramsey spoke about his long and varied flying career to a packed audience of over 160 people at the Chichester Park Hotel.

Bill caught the flying bug when he started gliding as a teenager and manged to obtain his gliding certificate before he was old enough to hold a driving licence. He then went on to obtain his private pilot’s Licence before joining the RAF, where he had a 32-year career and the experience of flying a wide range of aircraft from the Hastings to the harrier, the jet provost to the vulcan.

He spent a short term with Battle of Britain memorial flight, flying their Dakota and Lancaster, before the highlight of his military career when he became wing commander in charge of the Red Arrows. This meant he had the opportunity to fly in the back seat of each Red Arrow aircraft to check the pilots’ abilities and also regularly flew one of their spare aircraft, Red 11. The Hawk became his favourite aircraft.

Upon retirement from the RAF, Bill became involved with the Vulcan to the Sky project, flying XH558 to many air displays and being the pilot on her final flight. He is now involved with the People’s Mosquito project, trying to restore the mosquito aircraft to flight. Bill would love to hear its twin Merlin engines in the sky again.

Bill showed a number of amazing air-to-air photographs and videos. Shots taken from a cockpit camera during a Red Arrows display drew gasps from the audience as it proved that the aircraft really do fly as close to one another as it looks from the ground. The audience enjoyed watching film of the British Lancaster together with its Canadian counterpart. Wonderful shots of Vulcan XH558 flying with the Red Arrows and many other aircraft over the years, including two USAF F-15s, together with a beautiful video of the Vulcan taken from an aircraft flying above her, raised a nostalgic sigh of appreciation from the audience.

Air ACES is an aviation talk society, providing its members with regular talks, given by experts in many different fields related to the world of aviation. These talks cover subjects such as test flying, piloting iconic aircraft, RAF, aviation industry, air displays and many other related topics. The talks are held at the Chichester Park Hotel.

Anyone who has an interest in aviation is welcome to join Air ACES. Current members include civilian and ex-military air crew, those who enjoy air shows and displays, and people who are interested in aviation. The next Air Aces talk is on April 24th at the Chichester Park Hotel, starting at 7.30pm.

The talk will be given by senior staff from R.A.F. Waddington, who will be explaining about the work undertaken by the RAF’s current ISTAR Force in intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance, together with recent operations in Afghanistan and Libya.

Tickets are available on the door, non-members are welcome at a cost of £5 per person, with under 16s free of charge. For more details visit www.airaces.org.uk or call 01243 823007.