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G-AMSV Returns to Coventry

An old friend returned to Coventry yesterday when G-AMSV, in her striking Indian Air force livery, landed here for extensive maintenance by our engineers. Sierra Victor was part of the Air Altantique fleet here for many years. She'll...

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Baginton Air Pageant

The initial details for the Baginton Air Pageant are up on the website! As we don't have the space for a full-on air show attracting 20,000 or so people, we're aiming for low-key, themed days like this. A couple of thousand people,...

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Newquay Pleasure flights

We promised we'd be back to fly in Cornwall, and here we are. We'll be heading south with a Rapide and Chipmunk to spend a week at Newquay from 25th July, with a further visit planned in August. The flights are bookable in the normal...

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New Dakota Book

Geoff Jones just told me that his new book on the DC-3, released to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Dak's appearance, is now available. The cover sports a lovely shot of G-ANAF, shot by Simon Westwood before her radome goiter was...

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Nimrod Engine Run

We've just confirmed plans by NPT to run all four of the Nimrod's Rolls-Royce Speys on Saturday 9th May. We expect the thunder to start just after lunchtime. Come along and enjoy some audio power - and please dip into your pockets...

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Become a member of the Classic Air Force
Volunteers manoeuvring the Avro Anson

GST Forum

The Ground Support Team has its own active forum. You can log in to it by clicking the button below.

We're proud of our collection and we're sure you'll agree that we operate an unusual variety of aircraft, many of which are unique survivors of their breed. Hopefully you'll also agree that it's important that these aeroplanes are kept in airworthy condition as long as possible to educate and inspire future generations.

Of course the aeroplanes are just part of what we do though. Their continued safe operation relies on a very specific set of skills - from engineers to pilots. Flying and maintaining 60 year old piston-engined, tail-dragging aeroplanes is very different from operating modern airliners. Just as aircraft need preserving, so do skills of of workers who can stitch and dope fabric surfaces, overhaul a radial engine or land a Dragon Rapide in a crosswind. This too is part of our mission.

For the staff and volunteers who ensure the on-going operation of these aeroplanes, it's a labour of love - we do as much as we can do, as often as we can do it. We have a small number of full-time staff who are aided and abetted by a multitude of keen, eager and willing volunteers.

At the heart of these volunteers is a group known as the Ground Support Team (GST) - a group of volunteers whose skills and background vary widely but who all share the passion needed to 'do their bit.' There are ex-servicemen who have practical knowledge of the aeroplanes and are able to offer their skills to the engineers and fitters as well as a disparate bunch including car workers, bus drivers, electricians, retired civil servants, office workers, farmers and even police officers - all bound together by a love of aviation. The work they do varies from the utterly mundane, such as car parking and tea-making duties at open days through to helping the engineers clean aircraft and parts, painting tow bars, washing aeroplanes and even ground-crewing aircraft at air shows. Some give up large chunks of their spare time to help with admin work, graphic design and photography.

So why do they do it? Well, their rewards are huge, but intangible. Principally, there's the pleasure of working with a thoroughly nice bunch of like-minded individuals and the privilege of working on and around historic aeroplanes. On occasions the opportunity arises to fill an empty seat on an aircraft but above all their main incentive is the knowledge that they're taking part in a worthwhile enterprise and helping keep the aeroplanes aloft.

I hope some of you reading this will be inspired to join us. If you are, please contact us by e-mail, telephone or, better still, come to see us and talk about what you can offer the collection. You too, could be wearing the sky blue jacket which is the distinguishing mark of what we simply refer to as ‘The GST’.