11yr old schoolgirl helps raise money for FNHT
AT 11 years old there aren’t many young girls who have had the experience in aircraft that aspiring pilot Ellie Carter has.
Ellie Carter from Torrington in Devon emailed the Fly Navy Heritage Trust (FNHT) saying;
“My name is Ellie; I am 11 and have seen your appeal for the Sea Vixen. I am the girl that has been flying with the U2 crews in America (and stayed with major Cabigas who flew James May and flew with him). I love flying and have flown 20.5 hours and have done some talks for charity about my flying and my time with the U2 crews at Beale AFB and RAF Fairford.
I actually give out leaflets for the FNHT (and the air show) could you please tell me how much money you need to raise and if I can do anything else and give out leaflets or anything that would be good. I would like to do my little bit to help keep the Sea Vixen flying as we must not forget our flying history.
Good Luck and please ask if I can ever do anything
The Trust were delighted to hear of someone so young being so passionate about aviation and old aircraft in particular so the Trust invited Ellie to come to Royal Naval Air Station(RNAS) Yeovilton and visit the Royal Naval Historic Flight RNHF, to view and sit in its aircraft to learn more about Naval Aviation Heritage.
An adventurous young lady having at the age of 9 raced the US U2 Spy plane down the runway at Fairford, followed by a visit to Beal Air Force Base in the USA to meet the pilot and aircraft. Ellie is the only person, other than the U2 crew, to be given a U2 badge to wear on her flying jacket which she wore with pride for her visit.
Ellie visited during her half term and got to sit in the Fairey Swordfish and the Sea Fury as members of the Trust explained their historic role within the Royal Navy and some of the engineering facts to the 11 year old whose favourite subjects at school are Maths and Science and who hopes to go to University to study Aeronautics and Astronautics!
Dad Neil Carter says “Ellie is very proud of her flying skills and her mechanical knowledge. She just loves to be associated with flying , she is always working hard on some project or building something , she is building a rocket right now, even submitted an idea to Virgin, and that’s what makes her tick.”
During her visit and fired with enthusiasm for the Royal Naval Historic Flight, Ellie had a brainwave a Bear named Winkles could will help raise money for the Sea Vixen. The Bear would be called ‘Winkles’ after the first man to land and take-off a jet aircraft from an aircraft carrier, Eric “Winkle” Brown on 3 December 1945 from HMS Ocean in a Sea Vampire of the Royal Navy. Winkle Brown also holds the records for the most type of aircraft flown, 487 and for the most landings on a carrier, of which performed 2,407.
The Trust was rather taken with Ellie’s fund raising idea and later gifted her with a FNHT Bear to fund raise and start Winkles flying.
Winkles Bear will spend the next year with his flying ‘log book’ gaining flying hours all over the world with the help of many contacts’ that Ellie has made within the military at Air Shows, along with friends and family.
As Ellie adds “Winkles’ will fly anywhere anyone will take him and will then be auctioned off after a year with his log book to raise money for the Sea Vixen. I’m going to keep a diary, blog and maybe even a facebook page”.
Since her visit last week Ellie has taken Winkles up in a C42 Icarus as part of a training flight with the UK test pilot school. Winkles now has the first entry of 3 hours in his log book.
It is hoped the Sea Vixen will eventually come under the umbrella of the Fly Navy Heritage Trust and become one of the aircraft of the Royal Navy Historic Flight, joining the Swordfish, Sea Fury and Sea Hawk aircraft in the nation’s collection of airworthy Naval Aviation Heritage.
Ellie finished her day off, with her family at the Fleet Air Arm Museum where a Sea Vampire the aircraft type first landed on a carrier by Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown can be seen. Ellie said it’s been very fun and really nice thank you. I appreciate how brave the pilots were in these old aircraft. I will be back for Air Day”.