March 25, 2013


As an avid blog-follower, I have no doubt that you will have seen the great work that Aerobility does - but have you ever wondered how we fund it all? Well, we have a few fun and easy ways that you can help add a few pennies to our piggy bank without giving us any of your own...

easySearch and easyFundraising are great ways of supporting Aerobility, and all you have to do is a bit of online searching and shopping! By using the easySearch and easyFundraising sites to do your usual searching and shopping, you can raise valuable funds for Aerobility. Check out the links below to see how you can help!

A very happy Birthday...

This Saturday was the last of our Aviation Experience sessions, funded by the Hampshire County Council's Short Breaks for Disabled Children scheme. The sessions have been great fun for everyone involved and we've met some inspirational young people. This Saturday was no different, and we were even lucky enough to be able to share somebody's birthday with them!

The birthday boy with Aerobility volunteer Andrea - I wonder if he's wishing for some flying lessons!

March 21, 2013

Aerobility on show!

The calm before the storm! The Aerobility stand at the Business World Expo 2013. We've had a great few days!

March 19, 2013

Blackbushe time travel

If you have been to Blackbushe you might find the following link fascinating Click Here

25 pages of incredible photographs taken at Blackbushe over the years.  This is a great example:

Spin to Win!

Aerobility visit their colourful neighbours, Hayward Aviation Ltd, at this year's Business Airport World Expo 2013.

The fun of the Wheel of Fortune is drawing people from across the exhibition!

We've had a great day so far and met some great people - we're looking forward to the next two days!

March 15, 2013

A Spring Update!

Good Afternoon Aerobility!

Here in the Aerobility HQ at Blackbushe, we’re all hopefully peering out of the windows for any signs of spring. With overcast skies and snow flurries dampening our spirits somewhat, we have been keeping ourselves busy until the warm weather arrives!

Some of what we do best…

The Aerobility motto of “something worth flying for” is demonstrated time and time again by the people we meet and the stories we discover. At the heart of everything that we do remains the belief that flying can truly change lives. It is as a result of the hard work of Aerobility’s instructors that this belief comes to life. In a recent flight, CFI Mike Owen demonstrated how, with a bit of hard work and a lot of enthusiasm, the barriers that prevent people from sharing in the joy of aviation can be broken down.

Aerobility were contacted by the father of a young boy called Thomas, who had heard about our work but was unsure if his son’s complex needs would prevent him from taking part. Thomas requires a special seating system, which his father explained would need to be fitted into the aircraft to enable him to take part in a flight. The family visited Blackbushe and were met by Mike Owen, who spent time trialling the seating system in our fixed-base PA-28 simulator. With this trial successful, the next step was to see if the seating system would fit in the real aircraft – all fingers and toes were tightly crossed by now! The seating system again fitted safely and securely, and the barriers to Thomas’ dream of flying were finally removed.

Having reached this point, Mike decided that the only thing left to do was to go flying! With a clear schedule and good weather it was up, up, up and away. The help and support of Aerobility, as well as the determination of Thomas’ father, allowed Thomas to share an amazing experience with his parents. The flight, Thomas’ father told us, will be “a lifetime memory for us all.”

Thomas during his flight with Aerobility

We also have a new addition to our equipment base, which we hope will enhance the flying opportunities for many more memebers. Thanks to long term Aerobility supporter and member, Chris Suddes, members now have the use of an ultra-portable folding wheelchair that can be dismantled and folded small enough to be carried in the hold of the Warrior. It is hoped that this will assist those members who require wheelchair use at a land away, but whose own wheelchair may be too large for carriage in the aircraft.

The new wheelchair alongside the simulator.

Making the news again….

As some of the more observant blog-readers among you may have noticed, we reported yesterday that Mike Miller-Smith was a feature on Anne Diamond’s BBC Radio Berkshire show. The interview was a great success, and Anne took such a shine to Mike that she blogged about him almost before we could! 

Mike meets Anne Diamond and makes a big impression!

As a self-confessed science geek, Anne was very impressed with our connection with Patron Buzz Aldrin, and especially with Mike’s casual references to “coffee with Buzz the other day”. Have a look below to see what she thought…

Aerobility supporter and dedicated volunteer Sam Waller has also been making the news. A pilot in last year’s Global Flight Simulator Challenge, Sam has continued spreading the Aerobility message with an article in the Weald Aviators Newsletter. Have a look at page 6 for a full account of Sam’s flight….

As you’ll see, Sam flew a rather long leg for us on her birthday. A great commitment and very much appreciated!

Mixing with the high flyers….

The Business Airport World Expo 2013 team have very kindly invited us along to the exhibition, which is being held at Farnborough next week. We’ll be rubbing shoulders with some of aviation’s top players, with everyone from Hayward Aviation to TAG Farnborough Airport on show.

Business Airport World Expo is Central Europe's only exhibition dedicated to showcasing the world’s FBOs and business aviation destinations to executive jet owners, operators and brokers. We’re very pleased to be going along, and hope to meet some great new supporters!

Over and out….

As you can see, it’s been another busy few weeks at Aerobility. If you haven’t been flying for a while, perhaps one of the photos taken by Battle Back student Cliff on a flight yesterday (he wasn't at the controls, don’t worry!), will tempt you back. Perhaps spring is on its way after all….


The Aerobility Team

March 14, 2013

Radio GaGa!

Media darling Mike Miller-Smith is spreading the Aerobility word again this morning with a feature on BBC Berkshire - if you tune in now you'll catch the second half!

The Aerobility team listening and having a little giggle!

March 13, 2013

Whose Plane Goes Furthest?!

Throughout March, we have been running Aviation Experience sessions each Saturday morning for children and young people with disabilities. Although we're only half way through, we think it is safe to say that the sessions have been an amazing success!

Three of our young aviators testing out their carefully-crafted designs!
With help from the British Model Flying Association, we have incorporated model making into our sessions and it's been a real hit. With a "Whose Plane Goes Furthest?" competition at the end of each session, a huge amount of concentration and effort goes into making each model as aerodynamic as possible (from the Aerobility team as well as the youngsters!)

We hope that these sessions will introduce the children and young people who take part to the magic of aviation, and from the smiles on faces at the end of the day we think we might just have achieved that.

March 11, 2013

Simulator Fun at Cranebank!

Last week, we were lucky enough to be able to take three young people to the British Airways Flight Training Centre at Heathrow for an exciting and unique chance to use the crew and pilot training facilities. This was all possible as a result of the hard work of Andy Perkins, a BA pilot himself and instrumental promoter of youth aviation opportunities through The Air League.

The evening was a great success, as can be seen from this piece in the Basingstoke Gazette!

March 08, 2013

Charity Staff and Volunteer Awards

Last night we were lucky enough to be invited to the Charity Staff and Volunteer Awards, which were held by the Charity Staff Foundation. Our very own Mike Miller-Smith had been nominated for Charity Leader of the Year, a brilliant recognition of his hard work and relentless commitment to Aerobility.

We were joined by Alex and Trevor from The Jack and Ada Beattie Foundation, who have been amazing supporters and friends of Aerobility over the past few years. Unfortunately, Mike was unlucky on this occasion however it was impossible to begrudge the winner as everyone nominated had an inspiring story and were all deserving of an award.

The night was a great event for the charity sector, showcasing both the professionalism of the sector and the unique individuals that contribute to its ever-growing success.

March 07, 2013

Aerobility Marathon Men

This year, Aerobility are lucky to again have not one, but two, Virgin London Marathon runners.These brave chaps are taking on the gruelling 26.2 mile course and hoping to raise lots of money along the way. Their support for Aerobility is very much appreciated by us all!

If you'd like to show your support, please donate via their Virgin Money Giving pages:

A big thank you to Oliver and Andy from the team at Aerobility!

March 04, 2013

eBay Bonanza!

For some time Aerobility has been running an equipment donation scheme and much of this equipment will start to be sold on eBay in the next few months. Flight instructor James Brown has been busy training up some of  our volunteers on the ins and outs of eBay selling, and listings are popping up already!

Captain Nick Glover, an experienced Falcon pilot, trying his hand at the controls of an Aerobility PC instead!
If you would like to support Aerobility, as well as picking up a bargain or two, check out our current listings by visiting:

Alternatively, if you have any spare parts lying around that you'd like to get rid of, get in touch and we'll gladly take them off your hands!

March 02, 2013

The Aftermath!

Through the Hampshire County Council Short Breaks for Disabled Children Programme we were happy to invite seven young people from Parkside (Aldershot and District Mencap) to learn more about aviation. From flying the trusty simulator from Sydney to Algiers, to creating the leanest, meanest BMFA Aerojet fighting machines, to braving the cold and wind to have a look around the Cherokee, a lot of fun was had by all!

Aerobility volunteers Nick and Andrea stop for a well-earned cup of tea after a busy morning at Aerobility HQ. 

Thank you too all of our amazing volunteers - we couldn't do it without you!

Birthday Nav Fun!

Aerobility member Andrew Kennedy kicked off his birthday in style this morning, with his first solo navigation flight successfuly completed under the watchful eye of CFI Mike Owen.

Andrew made it all the way to Kingsclere Mast and back to Blackbushe in one piece, so the birthday celebrations start now!

Congratulations and Many Happy Returns!

March 01, 2013

Worth the Wait?

Welcome back!
Hello to all of our Aerobility members, supporters and friends. 

Firstly, we'd like to thank you for coming back to check out the promised update. We hope it will prove to be worth the wait! 2013 has already been a fantastic year for Aerobility, and below is just a sample of the great activities and achievements of the past couple of months.

The ‘boring’ bit….
Undoubtedly the most important change so far this year is our recent incorporation. As Aerobility has grown and developed so significantly over the past few years, it became necessary to take this step to ensure our future growth and development could continue with the same success.

As a result of our incorporation, we have a new charity number and bank account and so have had to ask our members to re-register with us. If you have had a letter and haven’t got round to sending it back, make sure you do otherwise you will no longer be a member of the amazing Aerobility family. Any questions about this process can be answered by the Aerobility team at Blackbushe, so if you would like to renew your membership or start a new membership, get in touch and we will send you the application form.

Flying high….
With that bit of admin over, we can get down to the stuff I know we’re all really interested in – flying! It’s been a busy year so far for our operations team, with trial flights introducing new aviators to the joy of flying, and membership flights bringing the experienced aviators back for more. With the weather starting to pick up, we’re expecting to get even busier through the spring months, so make sure you get in on the action and book your slots now!

We have been working hard to get our ‘Robo’ hoist in tip-top shape. Thanks to long standing friend of Aerobility, Andy Snowdon, who braved the wind and snow to reach us, the mighty ‘Robo’ hoist has recently undergone an extensive refurbishment.  The equipment, which is used extensively at Blackbushe to hoist flyers into our aircraft, is at the forefront of the enabling technology that we use to ensure flying is available to people with an extensive range of impairments.

Feet back on the ground…
Working hard on the ground is essential to reach the dizzy heights of your very own PPL, as James Brown and his Ground School students have found out. James has been holding ground school classes for members every Friday, and luckily his sense of fun has made the mixture of Nav and Air Law almost bearable for his dedicated students. If you’d like to become involved in these fun-filled Fridays, get in touch with James at Blackbushe to secure your place.

Whilst you would be forgiven for thinking that we would have to get off the ground to go flying, in fact we can now do that from the comfort of the office at Blackbushe. The PA-28 Flight Simulator that we purchased after the success of the Global Flight Simulator Challenge is a fantastic tool and we have been putting it to a lot of good use!

For many of our students, the simulator is providing a low-cost training tool as a step towards solo flying and eventually a PPL. However, it is also a great focus for sessions that we have been running for children and young adults with learning disabilities. With the ability to set the simulator to a range of exciting and challenging runways across the world, we really have been broadening horizons! The benefit of the simulator has been recognised by many important figures across the Learning Disability community, and the result of this has been successful funding from Hampshire County Council to run Aviation Experiences for Young Adults throughout March. We’ll keep you posted on the success of these sessions!

Spreading the word…
Aerobility Chief Executive, Mike Miller-Smith, was accompanied by Aerobility volunteers George Bacon and Guy Westgate to the recent European Airshow Convention in Antwerp. The subject of the day was ‘risk’ – how to identify it, how to manage it, how to minimise it. So of course, a presentation on Aerobility’s unique Paralympic project was the perfect topic to shake things up a little.

As if we would expect anything less from such an accomplished bunch, the presentation received a rousing standing ovation and was hailed as the highlight of the convention. It was a great platform to continue challenging perceptions and establishing ourselves in the aviation world.

A sad goodbye…
This February, we had to say goodbye to our trusty PA-28 Cherokee Warrior, G-BRFM, who has served us well and moved on to fly new skies. Although it was a sad moment for the Aerobility team, a gradual modernisation of our fleet will bring a range of benefits to the membership. Watch this space!

And a welcome...
Geri Burton was introduced to Aerobility as a carer for Aerobility CEO Mike Miller-Smith, and quickly became part of the team and has been bitten by the Aerobility bug. Geri has a background in the voluntary sector and has been running charity projects in Africa. Having volunteered for Aerobility for the last 6 months and doing some great work, Geri is now responsible for helping to develop Aerobility services for all disabilities along with supporting our fundraising projects. Welcome to the team Geri.

Over and out…
For now, consider yourself fully updated on all things Aerobility. Keep an eye out for more updates as they happen – we’ve got some big plans!
Fingers crossed for an improvement in the weather this weekend so we can get a few flying hours in!

Happy Landings,

The Aerobility Team