Jamie Ewan joined the Historic Army Aircraft Flight at Middle Wallop in Hampshire for a look behind the scenes. What does it take to make it work?

“Three… two… one… hack! The time is now 0902” exclaims Historic Army Aircraft Flight (HAAF) rotary training officer Al Sparks as he begins his brief for the day’s flying under the watchful eye of Matt Roberts, the team’s resident Display Authorisation Evaluator. Sitting in the room the flight calls home within Middle Wallop’s spacious Hangar 3, the chat of callsigns, NOTAMS (Notice to Airmen), airspace restrictions and aircraft serviceability is accompanied by the tell-tale rotor thump of Army Air Corps (AAC) Apache helicopters on training flights. How is it this all-volunteer civilian outfit operating from an active military base holds the key to preserving the AAC’s heritage and, ultimately, its legacy?

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