Following last year’s decision to run a separate day for older children, more appropriate to their needs than the children’s party atmosphere of the traditional October Helping Wings Day, the Helping Wings team organised the 2014 day for the 5th April.

Seventeen young adults were booked in for their round the island flights with nine pilots volunteering their aircraft and time for the day. What wasn’t planned was the weather forecast issued by Jersey Met on the morning of the 5th ! With a very moist, southerly airstream, it was always going to be a close call, a slight change in humidity and or wind direction bringing either sun or fog, flying or no flying.

The morning aviation forecast erred on the side of gloom and gloom was certainly the mood when the team met on the Saturday morning. It looked like the whole day would have to be cancelled and that we would have to fall back on the stand-by plan where pilots are put in touch directly with their passengers to re-arrange their flights for another, better, day. But, sensing that a rash decision should not be made too soon, we opted to postpone only the morning flights but leave the afternoon program in place should conditions improve. In fact, the low cloud lifted very quickly, followed by a change to a better forecast, followed by smiling faces and a quick review of the day’s schedule so that all the flights could take place.

Perhaps that feeling of a day snatched from the jaws of cancellation made the event all the more enjoyable. All the young adults, together with brothers, sisters, parents, and/or carers enjoyed the hospitality of the Jersey Aero Club, the surprisingly relaxed organisation, and of course their flights in a light aircraft around the island of Jersey. In all, thirty four people flew.

Many of our passengers became co-pilots, just for a brief time, as they experienced piloting the plane under the watchful eye of their pilot. But whether budding pilot or passenger, a great day was enjoyed by all. For one young lady, the day was very special. For her, it was a first flight ever, in any sort of aircraft !

As always on Helping Wings Days, it is easy to forget just how big an impact giving this sort of opportunity can have. The rewards are as much for the Helping Wings team as for the young adults and their families.