The Yorkshire Air Museum is providing the venue for the culmination of the 4 year ‘Festival of Flight’ programme. Launched in 2004 with support from then Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Jock Stirup, BAe Systems and Rolls Royce, the project aims to reach young people from different backgrounds, raise aspirations, introduce them to aviation and illustrate how people can overcome obstacles, including prejudice, in order to fulfil a dream to fly. It is organised by Heartstone, a not for profit organisation, driven by the energetic Sitakumari and her team.
The Festival now comprises of 10 photo documentary exhibitions celebrating the thrill and passion of flight, which brought together people of many different backgrounds, race and culture as mankind first reached for the skies. It begins with birds,the inspiration for flight, presents stories about the Pioneers who fought various obstacles to fulfil their ambitions, ending with aircraft at the pinnacle of today’s aircraft technology.
Festival of Flight partners, which include Her Majestey’s Armed Forces, allied nations Forces, emergency services, Police and civil aviation assets, have provided access to Heartstone’s photographer, Nick Sidle, to fly with frontline Squadrons, obtaining spectacular air to air images, putting the viewer ‘in the cockpit’ , setting a new standard for aviation photography.
The exhibitions are brought to life through presenters, some of these being children, who demonstrate that behind the aircraft are people of different backgrounds, who make the ‘impossible’ happen.
The project is also supported by Lt. Col. Herbert Carter, a member of the first USAAF combat air squadron to incorporate black aircrew, the famous Tuskagee Airmen of WWII. His wife, Mildred, became the first African American woman to gain a pilots licence, and we hope to be able to connect with them during the event.
Festival of Flight runs from the afternoon of Thursday 17th June to Saturday 19th June and over the course of the show, seveal hundred pupils from schools and youth groups from across the region and beyond will have attended. Of course, the public visiting the Museum will also be able to see the exhibitions and the colourful ethnic dance performances that will take during the event.