UK-based Aviation Collector Scouts for IAF Helmet
By Anantha Krishnan M | ENS | Published: 01st December 2013 10:04 AM |
Scott Bouchard, an aviation enthusiast and pilot equipment collector from Sharnford (Leicestershire, England) has the Indian Air Force (IAF) on his radar.
A technical specialist with Rolls-Royce Energy, 31-year-old Scott is on a mission to source a flying helmet used by the IAF pilots.
Scott said he fell in love with the IAF assets after having a close look at the HAL-built Ajeet aircraft, while on a business trip to the US, in 2010.
“I am very familiar with the Folland Gnat, so it was a pleasure to have a close look at the Ajeet. Any opportunity to link my hobby with the IAF would be quite interesting,” he added.
He has followed the interests from his father and late grandfather, who was a pilot during World War II.
“My grandfather was trained on the Tiger Moth, Steerman, and Harvard (T6 Texan). I was brought up in close proximity to Bruntinghtorpe airfield, which is home to many preserved classic jets,” Scott said.
Scott displays his aviation equipment collection during the annual ‘CockpitFest events’ at the Newark Air Museum.
“The idea is to inspire others and share knowledge. These displays generate a lot of interest among the people. It’s always a pleasure to have ex-Royal Air Force pilots thank you for preserving a little piece of history, as it brings back memories for them. And I also love it when children come along and want to try the helmets on,” Scott said.
Till date, Scott has collected 30 helmets with oxygen masks, from the UK, USA, Russia, Poland, Spain and France.
“My dream is to set up a museum of flying equipment one day. I am planning to put together a website as a virtual museum.” Since the age of 11, he has been volunteering to help maintain two aircraft - T5-XS452 and T5-XS458 - in running condition.
A senior IAF official told Express that old helmets are generally sent to the Logistics Section after they are identified as ‘not fit to use.’ “In the IAF, we follow a set of procedures even while discarding any equipment. There are also auctions at times,” he added.
Scott said he works on a limited budget while chasing his passion.
“I am trying to build the collection as cheaply as possible. But if a purchase opportunity arises in India, I do have items I could sell to raise the money for the helmet and postage costs,” he added.