Daring Help for Heroes thrill-seekers took to the skies as they enjoyed an adrenaline-fuelled day of wingwalking.
Five Band of Brothers took off up to 400ft in the air at Rendcomb Airfield, near Cirencester, home of the Breitling Wingwalkers. The blokes soared into the air at 100mph completely exposed standing on the edge of a 1940s Boeing Stearman, waving madly at spectators below. A simple code was given of thumbs up for enjoyment and thumbs down for an emergency landing but it was clear all were loving their time up in the sky.
The pilot gave them a thrilling 10-minute flight, using fly pasts, dips and bank turns to make it all the more exciting.
One of the BoBs taking part was Karl Hinett, whose life changed forever on September 19, 2005, while in Basra serving with the Staffordshire Regiment. Karl was supporting an operation to rescue two British soldiers held in a police station. A riot broke out and his Warrior tank’s viewing sights were shattered by insurgents throwing bricks. It forced the crew to open their hatches to see outside and one of the mob then threw a Molotov cocktail, drenching Karl in burning petrol. He received 37 percent burns to his hands, legs, arms and face. His recovery would take five years and 16 operations.
After landing following a 10 minute wingwalk he said: “That was one of the most exhilarating experiences I’ve had. There’s nothing like it, what an incredibly unique opportunity we’ve just been given. I’m going to be buzzing for the rest of the day.”
Corbin Mackin, who served as a rifleman in Helmand Province six years ago, said it was “an absolutely breath-taking experience.”
Corbin’s brother Travis was a Marine working just a few miles away from Corbin at the Kajaki Dam when an Improvised Explosive Devise was triggered and Travis was tragically killed. Corbin ended up leaving the army as he struggled to come to terms with what had happened. Still feeling numb and not accepting the death he ended up drinking more and getting into fights as a way to cope. In December 2012, Corbin was involved in a terrifying head-on car crash. Although he was miraculously unhurt, he awoke the next day having forgotten about Travis’ death. He was then diagnosed with Post-traumatic stress disorder.
“That was a brilliant, positive experience,” he said after landing. “I have to say a huge thank you to Help for Heroes for affording me that opportunity, I am on a massive high now.
“I am not going to forget that experience for a very long time, it was incredible. The views from the skies were astonishing and I tried to take it all in because it’s once in a lifetime.”
Click here to find out more about our fellowship Band of Brothers programme.