Aerobility is a registered charity that believes that everyone should have the right and opportunity to actively participate in aviation. We strive to remove the barriers, both physical and financial, that prevent people with disabilities from enjoying the magic of flight. Aerobility has been working with Help For Heroes to provide opportunities to service personnel and veterans who have been wounded, injured or sick, whether it is a once-in-a-lifetime flight, ongoing flight training, or employment prospects in the aviation industry.
We were delighted to be able to facilitate Flying Days at Blackbushe on Wednesday 26th March and Monday 7th April for members from the Help for Heroes Band of Brothers, which is a support group for those who have been wounded, injured or sick whilst in service. We were pleased to welcome over twenty participants who had travelled in from various locations in the UK from Catterick to the West Country.
The first of the flying days was a busy one, with three aircraft operating all day. The weather behaved and we had completed sixteen flights by close of play. On the Monday however, conditions did not look too favourable for flying, with overcast skies, a southerly cross breeze, intermittent rain, and a marginal VFR cloud base over the field, but nonetheless, following a short briefing on the function of primary aircraft controls, CFI James succeeded in taking up six of the group during the morning for individual local introductory flights of around 20 - 30minutes duration each in one of our PA28s.
In the early afternoon the cloud descended further to put an end to flying, but those not fortunate enough to be able to share the airborne experience on the day were offered the opportunity to return at a future date to enable them to fly then. At time of writing, two of those have returned and enjoyed their first taste of flying!
In addition to the actual flights, all participants were able to experience the next best thing – piloting our PA28 simulator under guidance from instructor Barry – and everyone expressed their pleasure on the day, here follows some examples of the feedback we received:
“The Aerobility team were fantastic. Extremely welcoming and the instructors made the learning very easy to take in. Being my first experience, I can safely say that I had never imagined being able to fly and now I have the bug.”
“Fantastic experience, I'd love to learn to fly.”
“Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity. It was a thrilling experience which I will cherish. Simply brilliant. With so much to concentrate on, it gave me a little window to put my disability to one side for a change, Thank you”
“Brilliant. I've always wanted to fly. This gives me a realistic opportunity to consider taking it up. I'd really love to continue.”