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Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome update - by CEO Ian Flint


Ian Flint

Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome CEO Ian Flint shares what he has been up to since joining the team three months ago.

Well, it’s been just over three months at Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome and I can safely say I’m hooked! It’s been a steep learning curve, but I think I’m getting there. So what have I been up to?

We’ve revised our volunteering strategy, and we’ve already begun new recruiting and induction schedules. We have our new guide book in place, and we’ve started to evaluate our new Engine Workshop museum. We’ve also almost finished the renovations of the Royal Engineers workshop, and there is grand plans for this wonderful building. New signs, branding and we’ve even refitted the Communications Room as an office! It’s all go!

Our volunteers

Our volunteers at work

We’ve had some great successes over the last few months in our events programme. The flying events have been a storming success – and I’m glad to say that even after a number of shows my heart still leaps when I see the aircraft whizzing to and fro. The stately beat of the BE2 prop or the roar of the Albatros still gets my blood racing and the crazy antics of the Turbulent display team leave me grinning. I hope you have visited and know what I mean!

Jean Munn swinging the prop at our flying event

Jean Munn swinging the propeller on the Albatros Dva at one of our Vintage Flying Events

I’ve also had the occasion to meet some fascinating people. From volunteers to veterans, politicians to parents – everyone with a story to tell and something to learn. It's brilliant.

My role at Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome

My day starts usually around 8am, with a big pot of coffee and a mountain of e-mails. I try to get through as many as I can before I embark on the raft of work involved in driving the site.

We’re involved with a number of bids for the Aerodrome, and they are very intricate – so that takes priority. I am involved with things as diverse as  policy writing and designing signage – supporting the management team to try and get everything right. I  often write articles (like this one) for magazines or websites, so I get to be a little creative and indulge a passion for the written word. Of course, I work closely  with our Finance team  - cash flow, expenditure, funding – all the while trying to marshal resources for the various tasks ahead.

We’re really interested in the different group visits we get – we seem to attract all manner of organisations and societies, covering every possible interest – so right  now I’m working with our Commercial Manager to design the very best offer for them. At the same time, we need to plan the work on our buildings carefully, so our Operations Manager and I regularly tramp around the site to make sure I am up to speed with the various locations and constructions.

I try and meet with our intrepid volunteers as often as I can – I even have my own enamel mug – so they can tell me how they are doing.

They are a vital, indispensable part of our aerodrome, and without them we would be in real trouble! It’s great to share a coffee and a doughnut with them. Funny, skilled, dedicated – they really are the heart of what we are.

Finally, I meet regularly with the Trustees – individually, or as a board. They don’t miss a trick! Each has their own area of expertise, and have lots to offer in support and guidance.

Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome really is a fantastic place to be. We’ve a lot to do, but we’ll get there!