Are we a bunch of Old Farts?

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Nigel Bailey
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Are we a bunch of Old Farts?

Post by Nigel Bailey » Wed Jun 05, 2013 5:26 pm

As my place of work is miles away from this country, it is sometimes difficult to get my working dates sorted out to allow me to fly into the rally. But yet again, for the third year in succession I have managed to swing it and I will be there, weather and aircraft serviceability permitting of course.
This year, after giving my eager attention to all the different aircraft, exhibits and friends, (I do have a few!) I will be looking out for a couple of other things in particular, 1) The average age of the pilots flying in. And 2) The standard of dress.
Strange you may think, but a chance conversation over a drink after last years rally left me thinking.
Apparently, whilst we all had our minds on things aviation, some people had noticed that the age group of the pilots themselves had become markedly geriatric !! Worse still, that quite a proportion of them were badly dressed and appeared grubby and unkempt :oops:
Did anyone else notice this? If so, should we be making a bit more of an effort to project a smarter and slicker look for our organisation to the great unwashed at this year's rally, rather than being the "great unwashed" ourselves?
As always, we need to attract new members and they will no doubt naturally consist of younger people who, these days, are particular about the way they look and their image.
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Chris Martyr
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Re: Are we a bunch of Old Farts?

Post by Chris Martyr » Wed Jun 05, 2013 8:41 pm

Blimey Nigel.. What are you trying to do mate , start World War 3 ?

You are probably right in principle on both points , but one has to bear in mind that as far as dress is concerned , it is a leisurely weekend event and many will have sat in the confines of an aeroplane for a few hours to get there , and will probably be staying over in tents before their return sector on the Sunday. So turning up looking like something out of Moss Bros just isn't an option . Ok, if everyone was slouching about in string vests looking like Rab C. Nesbit then you may have a point , but normal leisure clothing is pretty much the norm isn't it ? I'm a bit worried that a chap goes to something like that to look at other chaps clothing . :wink:
As a great fan of the Goodwood Revival , I have to say , it has become a bit too cheesy over recent years with people going completely over the top in some cases . I lived in Whittlebury, Northants as a boy , which is very close to Silverstone and spent an awful lot of time at race meetings back in the 60's . And what most people wear to Goodwood just wasn't worn by race goers back then.
My point is , lets not turn Sywell into a panto with stick on handle-bar moustaches , and hired RAF uniforms .

Your second point is the real emotive one . Getting new blood into our organisation is an often talked about topic . One of the stark realities is this though . What do you need to build an aircraft ?
Well firstly , a fairly decent chunk of disposable income . Also , a fairly decent sized double garage.
Thirdly , an unbelievable amount of patience , especially if you're not building an 'MFI Flatpack' type.

None of the above are things that most younger guys are going to have in any great proportions, which is the reason why most LAAers are over 45 . It's not a stodgy old gits pastime , as most of the sexiest things in the sky are LAA type aircraft , but they are things that mostly can be afforded by 'gents of a certain age'. And the new generation of LAAer is probably not the fresh faced youth , but the 40-something who has a career, mortgage nearly paid , kids left home, maybe a possible inheritance on the way. It's just one of those subjects that we can beat to death , but the bare facts are pretty much as above .
Are you sure you should have started this thread mate ? :D
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Ian Melville
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Re: Are we a bunch of Old Farts?

Post by Ian Melville » Thu Jun 06, 2013 7:11 am

I belong to a few interest groups other than aviation and in all of them the average is getting higher. In one group I joined as a 20 year old I was one of the youngest, now at 53 I am still one of the youngest!

Related to the second point, did you know that those camping under the wing are not entitled to use the showers on the camp site? since they pay nothing, none are provided. I feel a small fee for access would be a nice gesture to those who are part of the events attraction? Before anyone jumps in, I am not accusing the happy campers of stinking, or looking like they have been dragged through a hedge backwards.
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Brian Hope
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Re: Are we a bunch of Old Farts?

Post by Brian Hope » Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:36 am

Sorry Ian but you are wrong - anybody camping on the airfield is absolutely entitled to use the showers in the campsite, they always have been. If anybody suggests otherwise then let me or any of the Rally Team know straight away and we will educate them accordingly.
The main reason we do not have showers on the airfield side is because there is no convenient place on the field that has a water supply to connect to. We also have to consider keeping costs reasonable.
Have to say I’m firmly in the wear what you want camp, and probably fall into the natural scruff category even when I try to dress smartly! And as regards age, we have been discussing the ageing pilot problem since I joined the PFA nearly 40 years ago. I do think the problem is getting worse now, and our member database in fact shows that the average age of our members has moved on a couple of years in recent times to about 55. We are not alone though, the same is true of most hobbies, be it old cars, motorbikes, or whatever. Should we blame it on a disinterested youth or the internet? I don’t know but if we all do our bit to interest and inform younger people, and not just kids and teenagers but 20, 30 and 40 somethings as well, about the excitement and fascination of recreational aviation then we’ll have done our bit to encourage new blood.
Now where did I put those Gucci loafers?
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Ian Melville
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Re: Are we a bunch of Old Farts?

Post by Ian Melville » Thu Jun 06, 2013 4:48 pm

Hi Brian, I am pleased to be wrong.
As I have never flown in to the rally, I am only repeating what has been said to me by those camping under their wings. Three or four mentioned the fact to me at last years rally. I mentioned the fact to Nigel at the end, though I cannot recall his exact response, it did leave me with the impression the rally committee would look into it for the future.

Perhaps I misunderstood Nigel, but some of the visiting pilots did not seem to be aware of the facilities available to them.

I wouldn't expect the showers on the airfield.
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Nigel Ramsay
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Re: Are we a bunch of Old Farts?

Post by Nigel Ramsay » Thu Jun 06, 2013 7:53 pm

Ian, I can't remember our conversation but I'm sure I would have said that it was OK for pilots to use the campsite facilities :D

I might have said we weren't able to supply showers airside?

However for all who read this; as Brian said, the showers ARE available for visiting pilots!

As for dress sense... Brian has promised that if the weather is hot he WILL be wearing his lime green Mankini :twisted:

Paul Hendry-Smith
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Re: Are we a bunch of Old Farts?

Post by Paul Hendry-Smith » Thu Jun 06, 2013 8:14 pm

I hope we aren't all old farts, personally I disposed of all my suits, ties and other stuff when I escaped the daily grind, jeans and sweatshirts now fill my limited wardrobe.

On a slightly similar theme do we know roughly how many bods went through the LAA marquee at Aero Expo and what was the average age ??? Just some form of gut feel or ball park figure would be interesting.

My fear is that we are not as an association getting young members involved to the necessary level to be self sustaining, we are currently seeing pilot and aircraft registrations down about a third on last year, I do not see EASA and their regional office AKA the CAA doing anything to make life any easier on existing pilots or those considering aviation as either a career or purely for leisure.

Would be interested in other views

Paul
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Captain Pulsar
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Re: Are we a bunch of Old Farts?

Post by Captain Pulsar » Thu Jun 06, 2013 11:44 pm

Well, why shouldn't the Old Farts have an association?

Apropos the standard of Sywell haute-couture, I rather like the casual nature of attendees' dress sense. I believe members of the LAA span all walks of life, and the fact there is a distinct absence of dressing in order to accommodate the young folk's, or anyone else's aspirational dress sense is a good thing. With the growth of Facebook, and Twaddle, or whatever it's called, it seems most of the younger generation are more interested in what their peers are doing, such that they may emulate a lifestyle of conformist mediocrity. From my perspective, it seems a rather vacuous lifestyle, but that's how things appear.

I would much prefer to talk endlessly about aeroplanes all day long than worry about whether I am wearing the right gear or not.

Regarding our ageing membership, I think it's largely all about money. The younger generations have a very steep financial hill to climb, especially with property being so much more expensive than when I were a lad, and it is a very small sector of today's youth that can afford to own their own aircraft. I myself have had to restrict my airtime of late, as the cost of a 300 mile jolly to the west country is a great deal more than it was 10 years ago. In addition, the aircraft themselves are very much more expensive. I built mine for £15K over a period of 5 years. Were it not paid for, I would not be flying now.

Anyway, I'll see you all at the fly-in. I'll be the grey haired old fart in baggy jeans and an oil stained T-shirt, but my aeroplane will be very shiny indeed. Now that's the haute couture I'm interested in. 8)
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Ian Melville
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Re: Are we a bunch of Old Farts?

Post by Ian Melville » Fri Jun 07, 2013 6:50 am

Nigel Ramsay wrote:Ian, I can't remember our conversation but I'm sure I would have said that it was OK for pilots to use the campsite facilities :D

I might have said we weren't able to supply showers airside?

However for all who read this; as Brian said, the showers ARE available for visiting pilots!

As for dress sense... Brian has promised that if the weather is hot he WILL be wearing his lime green Mankini :twisted:
Quite possible Nigel. My hearing isn't the sharpest and I may have misundertood you.

I'm already belong to a group called the Old Farts Model Aircraft Club, why not OFLAA as well :D I am OK with the current dress sense of members, in fact I had not even thought about it.
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Chris Martyr
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Re: Are we a bunch of Old Farts?

Post by Chris Martyr » Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:13 am

We do tend to beat ourselves up a bit over this 'old fart' business . Sure, the average age of LAAers has crept up slightly , but on the plus side , we are living longer and healthier lives these days than previous generations, so why shouldn't we continue doing what we love for as long as we're able.
Regarding younger peoples interest in all this , all the LAAers I know are incredibly forthcoming when it comes to giving advice and assistance to potential Pilots and future LAA members and I'm sure that includes every contributor on here as well . This was proved recently when a younger chap put a post on here for advice and assistance , which I responded to along with quite a few others . It resulted in two visits to where I am based , which included an introduction to 'the cast of characters' , a free lesson in how to carry out hand-propping , two offers of flights around the area , one of which was in the type he had enquired about [well done Capt. Pulsar] and a whole shed load more from guys who are all happy to impart their knowledge and experience. All from one post on here.

A large part of the blame I feel in all this comes from the fact that kids don't receive much from their schooling which encourages them to use either their hands or their initiative these days. Sure they're all taught about " IT Skills " , but how many of them do woodwork or metalwork ? or are encouraged in the relevance of Science . Too damn few by a country mile , it's why there is such a skills shortage these days .
Plus of course , far too many of them can't be prised away from their keyboards, as they have to tell all their "friends" about the amazing virtual lives that they lead.
So, brothers of the sky , we should be bigging ourselves up here , not beating ourselves up .

As far as the 'Haute Couture' question is concerned ? Well sorry Nigel , that's like going up to a traction engine driver at a steam rally and saying, " 'ere mate , you ain't arf got a black face" . :lol:
Also , the implication that many LAAers have a hygiene problem was a bit unnecessary and uncalled for I thought.
Oh and Brian,,,,surely a mankini and Gucci loafers would clash wouldn't they ?
.
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mikeblyth
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Re: Are we a bunch of Old Farts?

Post by mikeblyth » Fri Jun 07, 2013 5:35 pm

What would my wife say if I had a shower and went out smart? My spitfire (Jt1) is cited as the other woman. :lol:
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Mick Bevan
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Re: Are we a bunch of Old Farts?

Post by Mick Bevan » Fri Jun 07, 2013 11:58 pm

One thing I absolutely love about messing about with small aeroplanes is the complete informality of it all and the more of it I get, the better I like it. I don't care if a guy looks like a wino if he is a good man with a spanner or can precisely sideslip a Jodel into a grassy field. if we need to tidy up to impress some one , we can manage it, I'm sure.

regards
Mick
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Harry Hopkins
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Re: Are we a bunch of Old Farts?

Post by Harry Hopkins » Sat Jun 08, 2013 7:00 pm

I can report that when Brian Hope received his well-deserved Royal Aero Club Silver Medal, earlier this year, he looked very smart; in short, he scrubs up well.

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mike newall
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Re: Are we a bunch of Old Farts?

Post by mike newall » Sun Jun 09, 2013 3:04 am

I farted yesterday........

I am 54

Does that mean I qualify ?

8)
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Ian Melville
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Re: Are we a bunch of Old Farts?

Post by Ian Melville » Sun Jun 09, 2013 8:09 am

only if the fart is 'aged' as well!

Going by this video posted elsewhere, we are a scruffy bunch these days. :D Even Neil Williams is wearing a tie.

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=fcd_1370222773
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