Alnwick Probus Club, June meeting

At the June meeting of the Alnwick Probus Club, speaker for the day was Mike Gowland, of Thropton.

Mike has retired from a career in civil aviation and gave the second part of his presentation on modern aircraft movement and management.

Mike introduced his talk by setting up an imaginary airline called Probus International Airlines.

He set up a trip from London to USA and from here it was filled with fine detail the likes of which the general public are unaware.

The company needed fuel, food, staff at the airport to book passengers in, luggage handlers, ground staff, cleaners, security people, booking offices for the public to access seats and lastly the flight planners at all the airports it would call at worldwide, as well as ground staff to load the planes, and provide seating plans for passengers.

Lastly, it needed to secure people who would file flight plans in order to book a route in the heavily-congested skies all over the world.

As if this was not complicated enough, all this had to be paid for out of company funds without a penny coming into the company. The fine detail of the flight was overwhelming.

Passengers sitting in their aircraft just assume all that has to be done has been done, but Mike pointed out that weeks and hundreds of hours of planning had gone into this one flight.

Mike showed many slides during his presentation of which one was showing the world map. This was covered with yellow dots showing aircraft in the sky at a given hour.

Not one piece of land over Europe could be seen, it was all covered by the yellow dots of aircraft movements.

Mike said that it was possible to log on to to see live flights taking place, indicating that planes were above us at any time day or night; quite an amazing presentation.

Mike took questions covering his talk and a vote of thanks was given by Probus Chairman Jack Lormer.