Weʼre raising £10,000 to complete the 'Spirit of Ayre' Pitts S2AE aircraft project and see her take to the skies in memory of the late Sgt Anthony Ayre RAF.
- Lincoln, UK
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A fairytale end to a tragic story - or rather a fairytale beginning with many chapters yet to be written?
Sgt Anthony (Tony) Ayre, an Engineering Technician (Avionics) by trade, had provided 29 years of exemplary service to the Royal Air Force (RAF) before he was tragically killed on 21 July 2014. Having spent a week of summer leave with his mother at his small house near RAF Leuchars, and set to return to his place of work at RAF Halton the next day, Tony was travelling to a friend's house for dinner when he was involved in a fatal road traffic collision.
Only a few weeks before his death, Tony had become the winner of the RAF Flying Clubs' Association (RAFFCA) inaugural 'beginners aerobatic competition' held at RAF Cranwell. He had flown in a Pitts S2A aircarft - an inspired choice given the fact that he had begun to build his own Pitts S2AE aircraft and the opportunity to fly one would afford experience and knowledge.
A much loved son and extremely popular serviceman, the loss of Tony was, and still is, difficult to accept. Truly a one-off, his character, values and persona typified everything that the Service stands for and, despite never marrying, he enjoyed a special closeness with many service families, friends and colleagues. In simple terms, he was one of those people who you occasionally have the privilege to meet in life and never forget - for all the right reasons.
When Tony’s mother, Joan, asked if the RAF Flying Clubs’ Association could accept and complete his beloved part-built Pitts S2AE aircraft project, which had been registered with the Civilian Aviation Authority (CAA) as G-PULR (i.e pulling G!), the response was simple - it would be an honour to do so.
Joan’s wishes were simply that the Pitts would be made available for service personnel to learn to fly and enjoy the thrill of aerobatic and competitive flight - something that Tony would have wished for.
Whilst ‘completion of a project’ may have sounded like a relatively straightforward ‘mission’, nobody could have predicted the emotionally-charged journey of challenge, achievement, gratitude and love that was about to unfold. Naming this special aircraft “The Spirit of Ayre” really could not have been more appropriate and, since accepting the challenge, there is no doubt that the many individuals and organisations involved have all been led by a unifying Spirit of success. .
Almost 4 years on, and now within touching distance of the Spirit of Ayre’s first flight, funding is required to see the project through to completion and a target of £10,000 has been set. Ultimately, the completion of the project will serve as a fitting tribute to Tony’s exemplary service career in the RAF and, in particular, his selfless support to RAF Flying Clubs and Junior Ranks wishing to learn to fly.
The recent formation of the Ayre to Air Charity, No 1174164, will ensure that the aircraft is protected and operated in accordance with the aims of the Charity for generations to come. And to imagine, a Junior Rank or ab-initio pilot taking to the skies in the late Sgt Anthony Ayre’s beloved aircraft, to enjoying the thrill of aerobatic flight for the first time, during the RAF’s Centenary Year of 2018, really would be a fairytale ending to a tragic story...... or rather a fairytale beginning with many more chapters waiting to be written.
The full Spirit of Ayre Storyboard and pictures can be found at the the link below
Please please help to place see the Spirit of Ayre flying in 2018 - we really can make this happen and are so so close. Just a few ££ more. Thank you.
Full storyboard linked below:
Sgt Anthony Ayre
A model of the Spirit of Ayre - which is nearing completion!
The Sprit of Ayre logo - acknowledging Sgt Ayre's love of flight and motocross!
In the beginning (Oct 2013)
And now (Jul 18)
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Jul 25, 2018
Fly high Tony, it was a pleasure knowing you.
Jul 17, 2018
Jul 16, 2018
Having served with Tony on 43 Sqn and on 8 Sqn I’m more than happy to donate to this great cause and to remember Tony, who wouldn’t think twice to help another. RIP Tony
Jul 10, 2018
Jul 9, 2018
I knew Anthony very well from his time at Wickenby. I was part of the group that sold the S2E project to Anthony. I would love to see it on the maiden flight. firstname.lastname@example.org
Jul 9, 2018
Good luck with the fund raising!
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About the fundraiser
The Ayre to Air Charity No 1174164
The Spirit of Ayre will be operated through the RAF Flying Clubs' Association (RAFFCA) whose aim is to facilitate the Air Force Board's objective of “affording Servicemen and women, regardless of rank or trade, the opportunity of learning to fly at the lowest cost”.