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Question for pilots who went to summer camp as kids

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Question for pilots who went to summer camp as kids

Old 1st Apr 2022, 13:12
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Question for pilots who went to summer camp as kids

I know it sounds like a strange question, but I am really curious if people thought going to summer camp as a child was more or less enjoyable than flying planes. I have never been to summer camp, but I have flown planes before and from what I have heard about summer camp I feel like there are some similarities. I have always understood summer camp as a place where people went to get away from the struggles of the real world. Flying up in the sky thousands of feet above the earth to me feels like this, until I land and have to pay for the rental! I am really curious what you all think. Was going to summer camp as a kid more or less enjoyable than flying a plane?
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Old 1st Apr 2022, 21:21
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About +10 for flying but maybe I just had a poor summer camp. Id recommend a (glider) flying camp for the ultimate summer fun.
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Old 1st Apr 2022, 22:14
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PM77,

Yours is not a strange question, but interesting from a geographical point of view. I grew up in the UK in the 50s and 60s and Summer Camp was an exotic experience only known to me from American films and Alan Sherman's "Hello Muddah, hello Faddah". The only summer camp that I experienced was in the Boy Scouts. A week under canvas in some muddy far-away field and then coming home unwashed with a bag of dirty clothes. A lot of fun but nothing like flying.
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Old 2nd Apr 2022, 06:42
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Also being brought up in the UK I had no experience of the American style Summer Camp. What I did experience was Summer Camp in the Air Training Corps, when our squadron would go off to an RAF base for a week and be treated to the fun and games of the airforce. To a teenage kid fascinated by aircraft it was fabulous.

Some were active V Bomber bases, some were training bases (and Officer Training school) and one year to Germany, to Geilenkirchen, the first time I went abroard. I think from those weeks I had the most fun with a bunch of friends in my entire childhood.

Although they are long gone now, I must give a posthumous thanks to all the staff on those bases who tolerated us and gave us flights of a lifetime, experiences other kids could only dream about (using a full sized fire hose anyone?) and taught us stuff about aeroplanes that stayed with us for a lifetime.

If any of you are in the military and see these camp kids coming through, you are doing a great job. It can be life changing for those cadets in a very positive way.
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Old 2nd Apr 2022, 12:09
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A Harrier field deployment comprises the unpleasantness of camping, the terror of aviation, the mud of the Somme, the squalor of no washing, the food of a greasy spoon and only mitigated by assorted amusements like throwing a thunderflash into the Eng Ops elsan.... All dressed in charcoal NBC suits.

Does this count?


Oh, did I mention bitey insects?
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Old 2nd Apr 2022, 12:56
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I also only did 'Summer Camps' as an Air Cadet - my sqn went to Church Fenton,Marham and Shawbury whilst I was in the sqn,usually including visits to sections,exercises and some Chipmunk flying,I was never senior enough to fly in anything else as I left fairly early to join up as an RAF Apprentice.
Later in life whilst on my last tour at Abingdon I went on 3 University Air Sqn 'summer camps' at Woodvale and St Mawgan (the 3rd one is a complete blank - no idea ).
The St Mawgan one was excellent as I had been delegated to sort out the spares etc (spares and oil 'pack up') and when I heard that 2 Bulldogs were flying down there to check out the accomodations etc I managed to get myself invited along for a lovely flight to Mawgan and back to arrange engine oil etc - 2 gorgeous summer flying days with blue skies and cotton wool Cu's .
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Old 2nd Apr 2022, 13:48
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Mawgan and back to arrange engine oil etc - 2 gorgeous summer flying days with blue skies and cotton wool Cu's
St Mawgan. And no gale force fog???
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Old 2nd Apr 2022, 15:05
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Absolutely - hardly any wind,same for the whole detachment - lovely weather .
We used to have the 'Brawdy Lean' at Brawdy for the 40 knot fog
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Old 2nd Apr 2022, 15:18
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Originally Posted by PilotMann77 View Post
I have always understood summer camp as a place where people went to get away from the struggles of the real world. Flying up in the sky thousands of feet above the earth to me feels like this, until I land and have to pay for the rental! I am really curious what you all think. Was going to summer camp as a kid more or less enjoyable than flying a plane?
I never thought of either summer camp (or flying) as a place to get away from the struggles of the real world.

The thing with summer camp is that it's for children, and whether it is a good experience or a bad one depends a lot on emotional maturity, or "introvert/extrovert" character, and other things. Which are wildly variable at those ages.

I went to the exact same camp twice, four years apart.

At age 8 - having just moved for the first time to a whole new part of the US and thus already subject to a bit of disorientation and homesickness, it was a horrible experience. I had to do the "Hello Mudda" thing and phone home tearfully after one week to be rescued.

At age 12 - acclimatized to the "new" home, and with a life-long friend my age for extra emotional support, it was glorious (except for the one overnight tent-camping trip, when it rained heavily, the tent leaked and I was sharing it with a another kid who suffered an asthma attack and was "whooping" all night).

In neither case was it really "getting away" from struggles and challenges (nor, of course, is flying). Both are intense learning experiences (if done right), which produce their own stresses.

That second time at camp I:
- learned to handle and fire a rifle (.22) on the rifle range - standing, kneeling, seated, prone, the works.
- participated in an organized "war" between cabin groups (minus the real rifles - but full of other military-surplus stuff, fireworks, and strategy and tactics planning sessions. We even built a "tank" out of plywood and logs as "the objective," draped in camouflage netting.
- learned to braid materials (and made several braided plastic-lacing lanyards, belts and key-chains) - and other such crafts.
- learned to handle and race a canoe, dual and solo.
- learned and practiced a wider range of swimming strokes
- got my first kiss from a girl (that tent overnight, before the thunderstorm set in).
- PLUS all the usual suspects - hikes, sing-alongs, mystery meat meals

Pretty much a "boot camp."
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Old 2nd Apr 2022, 15:36
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Space Camp sounds like a lot of fun. I’ve never been there.

My one experience with a month long sleepover summer camp wasn’t much fun. Rigid schedule and counselors, horseback riding when the horses were so huge they scared me.

Tennis lessons when I was way too young to return the ball over the net. Wow, I was bad at tennis.

I did learn how to sail, which was fun. Simple minded arts and crafts projects, which were okay. Never ever used whatever leather artifact they had us make; it was quietly tossed soon after I went home. My mother wanted to go on vacation in Britain and Scotland, without us, so we were parked there. My older sibling was in a different bunk/housing unit, so I rarely got to see them. Plus, there was no chance of phoning home, because nobody was there.

Does sound like the perfect vacation but I was miserable much of the time. I was around seven or eight, and small for my age. Plus, I was an introvert.

Last edited by visibility3miles; 2nd Apr 2022 at 15:51.
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Old 2nd Apr 2022, 15:48
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Originally Posted by Wetstart Dryrun View Post
A Harrier field deployment comprises the unpleasantness of camping, the terror of aviation, the mud of the Somme, the squalor of no washing, the food of a greasy spoon and only mitigated by assorted amusements like throwing a thunderflash into the Eng Ops elsan.... All dressed in charcoal NBC suits.

Does this count?


Oh, did I mention bitey insects?
You forgot the ice cold water shaves and (very quick) washes out of your steel helmet with the spider removed!
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Old 2nd Apr 2022, 20:40
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Originally Posted by Alpine Flyer View Post
Id recommend a (glider) flying camp for the ultimate summer fun.
I second that wholeheartedly
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Old 3rd Apr 2022, 09:29
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Originally Posted by Wetstart Dryrun View Post
A Harrier field deployment comprises the unpleasantness of camping, the terror of aviation, the mud of the Somme, the squalor of no washing, the food of a greasy spoon and only mitigated by assorted amusements like throwing a thunderflash into the Eng Ops elsan.... All dressed in charcoal NBC suits.

Does this count?


Oh, did I mention bitey insects?

Shurely not ! all the photo's showed excellent catering, warm tents, all the cold weather kit you could wish for ! (well ok, I did know those whose escape plan from Harriers began on day one of their posting and when we went to Wildenrath on 431 and mentioned about how we hoped they would enjoy their forthcoming holiday some people used some very rude words in response..

Scout camp, once, never again ! School camp, in Devon, bearable (apart from being run as a quasi military regime) but they did let me go wandering off around Exeter, Sidmouth etc all on my own...which was nice.

ATC camp...Ouston ! not quite fully closed, but only one stage short. Bleak ! Marham..a marginal improvement, the sun shone for a few days ! and also let us look at a Victor...to my then untrained eye, took one look and thought..".hmmm ! pig to work on...avoid if possible "..so I did.

The ten day sabbatical in Llangurig, away from the luxury of the Chilterns country spa, was actually quite enjoyable as it was on a LL route, with a nice big flag, hence we had several entertaining visits
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