Station Volunteer presented with Award

Jane Reilly  |  Published: Sep 29th 2017
Phil with his trophy and the part build. Crown copyright.
Phil with his trophy and the part build. Crown copyright.

A number of volunteers, mostly ex-RAF, work at RAF Halton in the Trenchard Museum and the James McCudden Flight Heritage Centre (JMFHC).  They look after the exhibits and deliver museum tours for both station personnel and visitors alike.

One of the volunteers is retired Sqn Ldr Phil Humphrey who is building his own light aircraft, a Pietenpol Air Camper, in the JMFHC.  The Air Camper is a 2-seat 1929 American design.  Phil recently took his aircraft to the Light Aircraft Association (LAA) national rally at Sywell, Northants, where he was awarded the Albert Codling trophy for the best part-built aeroplane.  The trophy will be formally presented at the LAA AGM in October.

To be able to build his own aircraft Phil had to register the project with the LAA – they hold authority to oversee the construction of amateur-built aircraft in UK.  An LAA inspector will assess the work at various stages, checking for build quality, correct materials and conformity with the design drawings.  Phil has purchased almost all his materials and fittings from a specialist company in America.  When the project is finished a Permit to Test will be issued allowing test flying.  Then, if all is well, a full Permit to Fly will be granted and Phil will be allowed to fly far and wide with a passenger.

Phil said “While this is not an obsession, I do try to spend as much time as possible on it.  It has taken 3 years so far and will hopefully be completed within the next 2 years.  Over 30 of these aircraft have been home-built in this country since the 1970s and most are still being flown.  I was delighted to accept the trophy and look forward to being presented with it formally at the LAA AGM.”

Phil spent 38 years in the RAF, commissioning at the age of 26 as an Engineer Officer.  His career was spent mostly in the Buckinghamshire area and London and he now lives in Aylesbury.  He flies with the Halton Aeroplane Club to keep his licence valid while he is building and is happy for anyone who would like to see the aircraft to contact the station, details below. The aircraft is now registered as G-EEAA.

RAF Halton is always looking for volunteers to work a few hours a week at the Station’s museums.  Anyone who is interested should contact the Trenchard Museum in the first instance on 01296 656481 to speak to the Curator, Francis Hanford or by e-mail:

To visit the JMFHC and see the project for yourself you can google or Facebook the James McCudden Flight Heritage Centre for contact details or phone 01296 656923 No military or flight experience is necessary.

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