Flying off in to the sunset

Around 14 years and four months after my first visit, my time with 59 (Huddersfield) Squadron is at an end. Sort of.

As so many things do, it started with Emma.

I’d finished my part-time MA in the summer of 2001 and over the next year had found myself at a loose end. “Why don’t you help me at Squadron?” asked Emma, “I’m losing staff and I need help with the paperwork.”

First time I went down was for a fund-raising wakeathon. Not that I could get in through the gate at first, but that’s another story.

Me, ready to fly
Me, ready to fly. I suffer from motion sickness. You can guess the rest.

A couple of months later I signed on as a Civilian Instructor and took over Adjutant duties at the end of September 2002. After being there for three evenings. It should be remembered that at that point I knew very, very little about flying, the MOD, RAF, cadets, anything.

With help from Emma, some lovely other adults and some remarkably sensible cadets I survived the next 14 years relatively unscathed. I had my first (and last) Air Experience Flight. Man who gets motion sickness looping the loop over York… what did they expect was going to happen?

I went on my first Annual Camp in 2008 – still one of the best holidays I’ve ever had and only cost me a fiver. Several years helping out at the Race for Life in Huddersfield, lots of Wing Athletics competitions. I even learned how to sail at TS Palatine on Lake Hollingworth (now closed). Actually, I went in so many times I drank most of it. And I still have no idea how to sail.

We did the Three Peaks. At least, I did the first Peak, got left behind for the other two and made my way back to Horton in Ribblesdale. Next time I just joined them for lunch.

Remembrance Day Parades and lunches, reunion events, Christmas parties, birthday parties (including my 40th), the Red Bull Air Race – we did so much. And then, I’d write it up, take a photo, send it to the Examiner and we’d get more coverage than you could shake a stick at. I’ve got a file of scans somewhere, I might yet turn it in to a .pdf so you can see it.

But knowing that any new job I get will limit my opportunities to get down even further, I thought it best to call it a day. No longer CI Taylor. But… there’s always the Civilian Committee…