Visit to Ulster Flying Club - by Myles Taylor

Visit to Ulster Flying Club- children with plane

On 11th May 2017 we visited the Ulster Flying Club in Newtownards. 

First Rodney showed us the Fire and Rescue pickup truck. The size of an airport dictates the size of the rescue squad. We saw the fire equipment. It was very interesting to see the aerator on the end of the hose’s nozzle which makes the white foam. 

Next we split into 2 groups. My group went to a small aircraft. We were allowed inside and were able to operate the flaps and the rudder. Our next stop was a hanger where there were lots of microlights. I counted over 20. The wings of a microlight are made from fabric and aluminium poles. We also saw 2 crashed aircraft, 1 microlight and 1 light aircraft. Luckily no one was hurt in either of these crashes. The next hanger housed a seaplane which has been donated to the Ulster Flying Club. It had 2 light pontoons and a boat like hull. The wheels retract and are protected by a fabric to make it watertight. This hanger also had 1 piston helicopter and 1 experimental helicopter which had 3 flaps at the rear instead of a tail rotor. The middle flap was a rudder and used jet propulsion to power the rotor. Back outside we were allowed inside a 4 seater helicopter which was parked on the apron. 

The airport has a fuel farm. The fuel tanker is locked behind a fence. We saw ground crew refuelling a helicopter which is done like filling a car with petrol. Rodney explained how to check fuel for contamination. One fuel which is blue in colour and is highly flammable is checked by swirling it in a can to see if anything sinks to the bottom. If anything sinks it is contaminated. The other fuel which is clear in colour is checked by dropping a special tablet into it. If it is contaminated it turns green.

We were also taken to the flight square. This is a big concrete square with a white cross, a black L and a red and yellow striped square. This flight square advises the pilot which direction to land. We also learnt that the lights on an aircraft’s wings inform other pilots in the air what direction another plane is travelling, either towards or away from him. 

We saw at least 6 small aircraft take off and land today as well as a helicopter. I had a magical day at the Ulster Flying Club. My favourite part was seeing a microlight flying almost beside me. Thank you Ulster Flying Club.


Myles Taylor (age 9)