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leslie's guiding traditions

It was in early 1945 that experimenting with an Air Ranger section began. There had been Sea Rangers for 25 years, and the work done by the Air Transport Auxiliary during the war in delivering planes from factories to airfields had shown that women could be just as capable pilots as men could be. Plus, Air Scouts had been founded.

The official launch of the Air Ranger section was in July 1945. By December of that year there were 31 registered 'flights' in England, 12 in Scotland, and one each in Ulster and Wales. No.1 Maidenhead Air Ranger Flight were the first to take to the air.  

At that stage, the regular age for Rangers was 16-21, though girls of 14 or 15, whose working circumstances prevented them attending Guide Company meetings, could also be permitted to join. Company size was 8-48, with an average of 18-24 members. Air Ranger flights were named by number and location. Flights were only permitted to form in locations where opportunities for flying and gliding or practical work on aircraft or on an aerodrome is available.

Air Rangers undertook the general Pre-Enrolment Test, and Ranger Service Star. They could then work on the Leading Air Ranger Test:


1) Read a book on the history of aviation.

2) Describe how an aeroplane flies.

3) Have an understanding of air traditions.

4) Choose any two items from each of the Airmanship, Navigation, and Meteorological Sections.

Airmanship Section

1) Signal by buzzer and lamp; also, know signals area, standard ground-to-air, Aldis lamp and Very light signals in use at aerodromes.

2) Describe two alternative ways of launching gliders.

3) Describe the various ways in which a sailplane can gain height.

4) Improvise wind indicator with smudge fire, shirt or sheet on pole, or anything large and conspicuous (fire preferably).

5) Know how to picket aircraft or glider and secure controls against wind.

6) Show proficiency in knots suitable for picketing aircraft and lashing controls.

7) Describe what precautions should be taken when in charge of an aeroplane or sailplane which has landed in a field and is staying overnight.

8) Know the traffic Rule of the Air in flight, taking off and landing.

9) Know the signs and orders used between pilot and ground crew in starting and stopping engines and taxi-ing, and how to give assistance to pilots taxi-ing aircraft.

10) Be proficient in the orders and signals used in handling sailplanes.

Navigation Section

1) Understand and interpret an Ordnance Survey 1/2-inch-to-a-mile Aviation map.

2) Lay off a track and measure distance and magnetic bearing for a given cross-country flight. Make a note of the highest ground on or within ten miles of the route. Note the reciprocal bearing in case the pilot has to turn back.

3) Know the height above sea level of the local aerodrome or gliding site, and be able to warn pilots of distance, magnetic bearing from site, and height of any local high ground.

4) Describe the purpose and appearance of the following instruments: air-speed indicator and altimeter.

Meteorology Section

1) Interpret standard weather map.

2) Make a route forecast for an imaginary flight at a given time. Know the difference between forecasts and actuals.

3) Describe four main types of cloud and the weather with which they are associated, and how they will be useful to a sailplane pilot.

4) Keep a weather log for a month.

5) Describe the general characteristics associated with: a warm front; a cold front; a high pressure area; a low pressure area.

The Air Ranger Section was never very numerous, and closed in 1968, when it was merged into the Ranger Guide Service Section.