What a difference it must make to someone to discover that the four walls that surround them are not their life’s new horizon.
UK Flying Charity Aerobility Trains Injured Soldiers to Pilot Light Aircraft
· Aerobility is a charity that owns and operates customised aircraft and equipment to facilitate flying lessons for the disabled
· Injured military personnel have gained pilots licences and undergone their first solo flights this summer
· Aerobility is currently seeking donations from the public and industry towards purchasing a Gippsland Airvan in order to extend the training and support it offers
London, 6th October 2010
UK flying charity Aerobility www.aerobility.com, alongside the Ministry of Defence ‘Battle Back’ scheme and Help for Heroes is providing tuition so that injured service personnel can learn to pilot light aircraft. In the coming months, Trooper Corie Mapp, who was seriously injured by a roadside bomb while serving in Afghanistan will be participating in flight training provided by Aerobility. Others have already benefited from the scheme, such as paraplegic Royal Marine Arthur Williams, who this summer achieved his pilot’s licence through a program facilitated by Aerobility.
With support from the MoD and Help for Heroes www.helpforheroes.org.uk, Aerobility is teaching a number of injured servicemen to fly. The challenge of this activity helps them come to terms with their injuries and offers them inspiration and hope for the future. Trooper Corie Mapp, who lost his legs in Afghanistan in January, has found motivation in his new passion for flying. This has become both a key driving factor in his rehabilitation and a potential future career path.
Trooper Corie Mapp, of the Household Cavalry said:
“Aerobility has given me a chance to live a lifelong dream. When I got injured in Afghan I thought that all my hopes and dreams were over but through this charity, I along with other comrades have a chance to be a part of something special and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity.”
Mike Miller-Smith, CEO of Aerobility added:
“These guys have had a rough time and it is very rewarding to provide something positive and see them grab the opportunity to fly with such enthusiasm and skill. We can help them turn the negativity of their situation into a positive future either with aviation as a new hobby or even as a new career. From the front line to the front seat so to speak.”
Aerobility owns and operates specialised planes which mean it can provide trial flights and experience days for the disabled community, as well as Private Pilot’s Licence (“PPL”) training. In 2009, Aerobility helped over 300 disabled people experience the joy of flight. The charity has flown people with every conceivable disabling condition, from spinal injury, amputation and Multiple Sclerosis, through to learning and sensory disabilities.
Although the work Aerobility had been doing with wounded military personnel has been extremely beneficial, there is so much more that could be done. With the correct equipment, the pilots gaining their licences through Aerobility could go on to become commercial pilots. Currently there are six disabled commercial pilots in the UK, but they are restricted to centre thrust aircraft.
Marine Arthur Williams, who was paralysed after severing his spinal cord learned to fly through training offered by Aerobility. Marine Williams recently led a ‘Heroes Fly In’ at Coventry Airport in aid of Help for Heroes, piloting an Aerobility PA28 Warrior and touching down to a rapturous reception from the 10,000 strong crowd.
Marine Williams, of Lima Company, 42 Commando said:
“Many pilots thrive on new challenges and are always improving their skills, aiming to be the best. Disabled pilots are no different, but no one has yet achieved flying a twin engine aircraft with disabled hand controls. We are looking to aerospace and engineering companies to take up the challenge of supporting us to develop a rudder control adaptation that enables disabled people to progress into the world of commercial aviation, opening up a career path for those of us driven to fly.”
Aerobility’s existing aircraft are for training purposes only, so have limited internal capacity and cannot carry specialist robot lifting equipment for larger wheelchairs. Transporting this equipment is a significant burden in time, cost and convenience for a charity run mostly by disabled people and means that those flying must always land at their departure airfield. To overcome these problems, Aerobility is seeking to raise £350,000 to purchase a Gippsland Airvan, which can carry all necessary equipment, can be flown by people of all disabilities and seats up to eight people. This aircraft can also accommodate photography equipment, remote sensing technology and medical equipment so would provide a source of revenue for the charity in the future.
For more information about Aerobility, please visit the website or view the attached press pack.
PRESS OFFICE: Singleton PR
Sorry about the interruption in service folks, we had some server problems that have been addressed by David the Apache Guru (thank goodness).
Here is a picture of our Director of Flight Ops on holiday with his Mrs in Chicago recently.
Have you wondered where the passion for flight comes from? What is it that drives us to stuff our head in the clouds and dream of soaring down the footless ravines of air, wheeling among the billowing cathedrals of vaporous cotton wool as they blossom into free form shapes above – every one unique, every one destined to vanish from the azure expanse at the close of the day, as they have done since the beginning of time.
A bit of a clumsy attempt to scale the lyrical heights, but that’s how our imagination and its excesses leave us sometimes. I remember wanting to be up there so badly that it produced a physical pain in my chest akin to lost love. It wasn’t until I started to make my way that the ache began to live in the background; cold turkey would simply never have worked and still those emotions exist to tweak and taunt after even relatively short absences from the sky.
I would be surprised if anyone could make their way to a living in the air without assistance from friends or acquaintances; who among us hasn’t had a helping hand when it was most needed. Without such we will have been at best delayed in our journey – at worst, lost to ground based purgatory.
Why do they step in; to repay a debt, remember a friend or simply help a worthy struggler? What drove them to take an interest, lend a book, offer carefully chosen words of encouragement or maybe an activating phone call on another’s behalf? Who knows but those who give?
Giving does seem to be tied inextricably to remembering, there are those I will never forget – Neil East, Sir Phillip Sassoon, Mac McCarthy, Stan Easton, those and others since who either helped me or pointed to the way ahead. Those that extend a hand of help and assistance give more than the sum of their gift, there is a dividend that grows in the heart of the receiver.
Presumably you’re wondering where we’re going with this?
The seatbelt signs have been on for a while, the pilot reports are coming in thick and fast, this industry is hitting the rocky road and there is much worse to come. But we are flying, not only that, we are all changing because to stay the same means oblivion.
That last section of the message is being pushed particularly hard by the management of airlines across the world isn’t it. It is here…
To me we seem to entering the the last phase in the reshaping of legacy carriers from the leviathans they once were into the streamlined modern companies they need to be. 9/11 should have been the watershed for massive changes in the industry but Chapter 11 and government subsidy in the US allowed many US carriers to hold off substantial restructuring. Protectionism during the recession that we find washing around our knees may well do something similar. But true 21st Century business structures can’t be far away now.
Labour has its own concerns of course. Will increasingly aggressive executives see this as a major opportunity to reshape salary scales and remove benefits? The signs are certainly there that they may, the savings potential by doing this have been eyed for years. We are fully aware that plans have been laid for the restructuring for several major departments in the company that I work for. I guess timing is everything and as the climate turns increasingly bitter in the financial world, the bell seems set to toll.
Conversations in crew rooms around the route network with our own and other carrier’s crews follow this pattern almost ad-nausium. Sorry if this is a theme I keep returning to but it permeates our existence at the moment and it is difficult to put it down. I count myself very fortunate though, every week it seems that my friends who paramotor have another of their number who has either lost his job or his company. This IS a bitter wind.
Online in-flight over the Atlantic
Jan 26 – British Airways announces plans to launch in-flight communications on its new all-business class route from London to New York.
Passengers on the new service will be able to access the Internet and send email using their own mobile and BlackBerry-type devices, but voice-functionality will not be enabled.
Boeing tried this a little while back, lack of demand, technical problems and costs versus return caused them to withdraw. A good idea nearly always finds its time, if this proves to be a success we hope the facility will be rolled out across other fleets.
For routine operational text based communications airlines use ACARS. Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (or ACARS) a digital datalink system for transmission of small messages between aircraft and ground stations via radio or satellite.
An airborne internet based service may supplant ACARS and significantly increase the functionality currently available by the now dated (but reliable) ACARS system. What’s more, if subsidized by cabin usage it might be a whole lot cheaper – and we know who likes ‘cheaper’ don’t we?
Brisbane H3N2 took me down for two weeks but I have shrugged off the ‘Manflu’ and made it to ’09 with the rest of you.
For anyone that has been a regular reader I do apologize for the lack of material being posted. I have been busy living my life and watching the fabric of our great industry being re-arranged. I will post again soon.
I am beginning to feel like an obituaries column, fun stuff for a while now.
There has to be a bright side……
A UK-built solar-powered plane has set an unofficial world endurance record for a flight by an unmanned aircraft. The Zephyr-6, as it is known, stayed aloft for more than three days, running through the night on batteries it had recharged in sunlight.
The flight was a demonstration for the US military, which is looking for new types of technology to support its troops on the ground. Craft like Zephyr might make ideal platforms for reconnaissance. They could also be used to relay battlefield communications.
Chris Kelleher, from UK defence and research firm QinetiQ, said Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) offer advantages over traditional aircraft and even satellites. “The principal advantage is persistence – that you would be there all the time,” he told BBC News. “A satellite goes over the same part of the Earth twice a day – and one of those is at night – so it’s only really getting a snapshot of activity. Zephyr would be watching all day.” [From BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Solar plane makes night flights]
Here is a clip from the BBC
Watching the development of unmanned aerial vehicles is fascinating. I can’t think of a more cost effective way of relaying communications or placing earth resources assets in place. The technology is rapidly becoming empowering as the weight/capability equation starts to bring projects into the frame that have sat outside just waiting for the right set of circumstances.
Here is another one I find interesting, it harks across to paramotoring of course but think of the benefits in disaster areas and on the battlefield.