It’s National Aviation Day!
The day was first distinguished in 1939 in the US and celebrates the development of the aviation industry. The day often involves schools taking part in special classroom activities and trips to aviation museums, focusing on the history of aviation, aviation pioneers and achievements of modern aviation.
The 2020 celebrations are likely to be a little different this year and Pennant are delighted to be acknowledging the day by sharing our colleges memoirs and future predictions for the avionics sector.
John Ponsonby (Vice Chairman):
I started my career in 1979 when I had to use my instruments to maintain flight in instrument met conditions. I learned to fly helicopters at the Army Air Corps Centre Middle Wallop. I was taught to fly initially by a Battle of Britain pilot and the Chipmunk was the first aircraft I went solo in.
Aviation has shrunk the world and opened up opportunities that could never have been imagined 100 years ago. It has vast reach into technological development, into managing vast projects such as the development of the A380, and into the management of the movement of vast numbers of people. The test pilots of the 1950/60/70s were true pioneers and many lost their lives stretching the boundaries and creating the conditions for an almost zero accident commercial aviation industry.
For the future…..The focus will be on making aviation carbon neutral. In 10 years, an electric passenger plane will be operating somewhere in the world. Autonomous capabilities will be incorporated in the next generation commercial aircraft, but pilots will still be at the front (maybe only one) but acting as safety pilot(s).
Tim Akers (Pennant Project Engineer):
My RAF apprenticeship is one of my first memories, studying and learning off by heart volumes of circuit diagrams for entire air radar systems so I could pass oral, written and practical exams to become a RAF avionics engineer. I worked on Canberra PR9 strategic reconnaissance camera systems back in the early 1980s, this was my first aviation project. These cameras used 6000 feet of 9 inch film to film entire countries. It was fascinating work and I travelled the world for 4 years in support of them.
Sir Robert Watson-Watt is my avionics hero. He invented radar back in the late 1930s. Without it, I doubt we would have held the Axis powers back during the Battle of Britain. Also, Sir Frank Whittle, inventor of the Jet Engine. He came up with the idea at RAF Cranwell in the late 1920s and fought with the Air Ministry for years for funding to develop his ideas into something of practical use. I was lucky enough to meet him once, when I was very young (my father had worked for him in the past). Even at that age (I was 8 or 9) he was a fascinating man to listen to, and he’s been a hero of mine ever since.
In 117 years we have developed aviation from over sized box kites that struggled to lift one human in to the air for more than 5 miles, to worldwide commercial flight carrying millions of people. You can now fly half way around the world in less than 24 hours, whereas before, travelling by passenger ship would take 3 to 4 months to achieve the same thing. The world has shrunk as a consequence and is overall a better thing for it. We also have started the first sojourns into our solar system and outer space.
For the future…. I believe that commercial supersonic flight will be a major possibility, also, we are starting to explore the solar system. The proposed manned re-visit to the moon are proposed within the next 5 years, and manned flights to Mars are proposed in the next 10 to 15 years.
At Pennant we are lucky to have vast avionic capabilities and experience from a workmanship across the globe. For over 60 years, Pennant has seen several ground-breaking developments in the industry and has been involved in cutting-edge aircraft projects and aviation maintenance training, including work on Tornado, Seaking and Lynx. From early displays and manuals, to today’s hyper-realistic VR systems and complex technical training products, Pennant has grown and enhanced it’s avionic capabilities over the years.
Pennant will continue to move with the times and offer the full Pennant product portfolio (e-learning, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Emulation, Simulation, Interactive Technical Documentation, LSAR software, S1000D software, Studio Services and many more related skills and products) to the aviation industry, ensuring continued support to those seeking safe, reliable training.