A portrait of the Queen for the Chairwoman’s Challenge
The BWPA presents several awards each year at the Festive Lunch to recognise remarkable achievement and commitment to aviation. Of these awards, the Chairwoman’s Challenge trophy is awarded to a BWPA member for the entry judged to be the most interesting or unusual flight within a theme. With this year’s awards being announced in a few weeks, we hear from Amal Larhlid, the recipient of the 2022 Chairwoman’s Challenge Trophy, about her exciting flight.
“The 2022 Challenge theme was ‘Noughts and Crosses’. To fulfil the theme, I decided to fly a route that draws the portrait of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. I used this flight to pay my respects to her, raise funding for Hospice UK, and aim to inspire people to believe in themselves. The flight started and finished at White Waltham Airfield.
“‘Noughts and Crosses’ is an ancient game that arose and evolved in the Bronze Age. ‘Noughts and Crosses’ also refers to a book, play, or TV drama of the same name that addresses race, social castes and inequality. My interpretation of the theme takes these elements of history and human struggles and puts a positive spin on them. A cross pattée and a diamond at the centre of the crown represent one cross and one nought. The flying route inspiration for this part was taken from the crown that accompanied the Queen’s coffin at her funeral. It was also the most challenging part of the route.
“The flight route was divided into eight legs:
1. Starting the portrait by drawing the back of the neck, from White Waltham Airfield to Waddesdon, via Chinnor and Thame.
2. Drawing the back of the head, from Waddesdon to Milton Keynes, via Whitchurch and Winslow.
3. Drawing the back of the crown, from Milton Keynes to Northampton, via Newport Parnell, Olney and Hackleton.
4. Drawing the nought and cross (the pattée cross and the diamond) at the centre of the crown over Northampton.
5. Drawing the front of the crown from Northampton to Southam, via Long Buckby and Rugby.
6. Drawing the forehead and face from Southam to Witney, via Kineton and Chipping Norton.
7. Drawing the front of the neck from Witney to Lambourn via Faringdon.
8. Finishing the portrait by drawing the base of the neck from Lambourn to White Waltham via Compton and Goring.”
“This flight allowed me to personally pay my respect and appreciation to the Queen and commemorate her 70 incredible years of service. She embodied the values of dignity, selflessness and service. She will remain an inspiration to me and many people in the UK and around the globe. This flight also allowed me to raise awareness, support and funding for Hospice UK. This charity helps people affected by death and grief, imitating Her Majesty’s caring nature.
“This flight aimed to inspire people, particularly women, to believe in themselves and pursue their wildest dreams. Flying represents one of those dreams for me. We can do anything we put our minds to by believing in ourselves and unfolding our wings.
“I knew that this flight would be a challenge. However, the day of this flight and its outcomes were more than I could have hoped for. Not only did I feel an immense sense of personal accomplishment, but I also found that the coverage it was getting was supporting Hospice UK. It made this challenge all the more worthwhile.”