The Royal Aero Club recently presented its Bronze Medal to Joan Walsh, Chief Flying Instructor of Saxon Microlights at North Weald Airfield. This prestigious award was for her services to the microlight community through the British Microlight Aircraft Association (BMAA). The gold, silver and bronze medals are awarded annually for outstanding achievement in aviation during the preceding year or over a number of years, principally, but not necessarily, as a pilot.
Joan has been instructing for 10 years, and has pioneered the use of flight simulation to enhance training, which has proved to be very effective. She has recently added a large side screen to her Thruster simulator, which gives the student pilot a greater degree of realism and situational awareness in training.
Her students have already benefitted from being able to carry out exercises such as crosswind landings on the simulator before repeating them in the air. This saves the students money and means that the airborne training time has maximum practical value. The visuals give a great view of the Airfield and the local training area out to the East. Joan can programme in different winds and other factors to add to the challenge.
Joan has also served on the BMAA Council, where her calm, no nonsense approach (and experience as a magistrate) proved to be of significant value. The Airfield Operations Team would like to congratulate her on this well-deserved recognition.