A Volunteer Apprentice’s view of the HAAF

Hi all! My name is Izzie. I am an Apprentice engineer with Boeing and have a huge passion for historic aviation and preserving airworthy vintage aircraft for future generations. As a result, I have been volunteering with the HAAF on and off since October 2021.

I have been asked to give our readers a brief overview of some of the things I’ve been up to:

Since starting to volunteer I have been involved in various activities… including maintenance, carrying out aircraft starts, flying in the aircraft and most importantly, cleaning spark plugs (yes, I’m pretty sure there’s a growing stack of spark plugs awaiting me when I get back to it!).

Fitting new engine mounting bolts

More recently, I took part in our Sioux’s Primary scheduled maintenance where I spent an afternoon installing the mounts to the tail rotor drive shaft bearings. This proved a challenge in places due to limited access. Even with my small hands, the nuts were difficult to hold still while doing up the screws. I also had to ensure the mounts were level and the bearings held still. It was a nice little task to spend a few hours on!

Come and join me

Checking wheel pressures

In summer last year, I carried out an inspection of the Auster Mk 1’s engine mount bolts which was an interesting activity. It was fantastic to work on an aircraft from the 1940s as it’s an entirely different type of engineering to what I’m used to doing with my day job.

I have also spent a fair amount of time flying – which has seen me up in around half the HAAF aircraft. Recently, I flew in the back of the Scout. It was really cool to know that in the previous week, I had helped to rig the tail rotor.

Scouting somewhere over Hampshire

On one of my previous visits, I assisted our ground engagement team where I spent the day talking to visitors about the aircraft and HAAF.

Currently, the flight is looking for ground-crew volunteers to carry out similar roles at air shows and events where HAAF are attending. If this sounds like something you’d like to get involved in, please use the Contact Us page to get in touch. HAAF are a fantastic organisation to volunteer with. They are genuinely passionate about carrying on the heritage of Army Aviation to inspire the next generation – hey that’s me!

Story by Izzy Taylor