Alexwalsh's Blog

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Fixing old planes

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I enjoy history, even more so when I get to see part of it in the flesh. For me, this really brings historical events to life. I got to have a tour of HMS Victory once and ever since then naval history from that period has been very vivid. I’ve been below decks to where the crew would have slept, and where the cannons are lined up ready to be used. All of this paints a more human picture of historical events.

It’s easy to romanticise the past or even make past conflicts less saddening than current ones if they are presented as a narrative on a page. Almost as if it is a story. Real people were killed and wounded at Trafalgar, and they had families too. No different from today.

This is why I think it is important for history to be about more than words in a book. I think it should be about experience. For example, being able to walk on the deck of the HMS Victory, or to sit in the cockpit of a Hawker Sideley Vulcan.

That lengthy preamble was to give one of the reasons I volunteer to help restore cold war jets at Bruntingthorpe Air Museum. The restorers at Bruntingthorpe are there on a voluntary basis, and they are a great bunch. There is a mix of former and serving armed forces personnel and civilian engineers.

Of course, the main reason I go is that I adore old planes and the opportunity to scramble all over them is like a dream come true. So far I’ve been involved with a BAE Starfighter, a jet Provost, a Sea Vixen and a Gnat. I say that I help restore old planes, in actual fact I’m just a kid in a playground.

Course, it doesn’t always go to plan…

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Written by alexwalsh

November 14, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Posted in Equipment, First Hand, Volunteering

Tagged with ,

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