August 13, 2013

Walking on Air – Portmoak, Scottish Gliding Centre

Walking on Air is a Scottish charity that allows "people with disabilities to soar like birds!" The charity utilise facilities at the Scottish Gliding Centre to provide an opportunity for people with disabilities and a sense of adventure to fly a modified glider. Aerobility member Alex recently spent some time with Walking on Air, and we're pleased to have the report below on his time with the charity - thank you Alex! 

"I've just returned from a weekend of ridge soaring, winch launches, aerotows and aerobatics.  A whole new world of techniques to learn and master.  I was fortunate enough to join Steve Derwin and a host of kind volunteers from Walking on Air up in Scotland for a weekend’s gliding.  All be it the wind had decided not to be in our favor, this just made things a little more interesting.  They had a great setup there.  With an onsite cafe, wheelchair accessible rooms, roll in shower, barbecue area and most importantly a cheap bar.  The K21 glider had a rudder conversion which sat nicely just below the air brakes. It was easy to use and very effective both on the ground and in the air.  I’d definitely recommend a visit and ask for a winch launch on full whack !!"

If you think you might be interested in taking up an opportunity in gliding or supporting Walking on Air please visit their website

August 07, 2013

RNAS Culdrose - Aerobility Visit

During the week 24th to 28th July, Aerobility spent a few fantastic days at RNAS Culdrose with the 750 Naval Air Squadron. The Aerobility team of Mike Owen, Senior Flying Instructor and Dave Rawlins, Ground Operations Volunteer, travelled down to RNAS Culdrose with our PA-28 G-BSYY in time for the 2013 RNAS Culdrose Air Day, before preparing for four days of flights with Cornwalls’ disability community.

WW2 Mustang sets off for its display.

The Air Day was a great event, with reportedly over 14, 000 people in attendance. The public were able to experience first-hand the workings of a military Naval Air Station and were treated to air displays and static displays, as well as the chance to meet some of the Aircrew who so expertly fly from the base every day. Although the weather put a dampener on a few of the display teams, it did not deter Aerobility Ambassador Guy Westgate and his GliderFX display. As ever, Guy wowed the crowds and flew the Aerobility flag high.

WW2 Catalina Flying Boat from Duxford IWM

With the excitement of the Air Day over, it was time to get down to business and get to work flying! Aerobility contacted local disability groups to offer individuals, for whom the trip to Blackbushe would be too far, the chance to experience aviation and the magic of flight. The office was inundated with calls and interest in the flights, showing that there are certainly plenty of people in Cornwall who’d like to go flying!

Local Aerobility member, Nathan, celebrates his birthday at RNAS Culdrose.

Over the course of three days, Mike and Dave managed to successfully complete over 20 sorties for adults and children with a range of disabilities. This was a great achievement, although the team was still very disappointed to have to cancel the final morning of flights due to poor weather. The flights were enjoyed by all, and even for those who just came along for moral support it was a great day. One family member told us that “to see the smiles on the faces of the ones that went for a flight was well worth being there”.

Aerobility's Dave with Jess, who had a great day. 

It wasn’t just the friends and family having fun though. Dave Rawlins, Ground Operations, had a great time and told us “I had a fantastic few days down in RNAS Culdrose, couldn't have asked for better weather and friendly staff. It was a pleasure meeting new people and I hope to see you all behind the controls of the aircraft again soon.”

The success of this detachment was down to the hard work of Mike and Dave, but also down to the support of RNAS Culdrose and the 750 Naval Air Squadron. Aerobility would like to say a very big thank you to all of those who helped, and in particular to Lt Cmd Nick Lee who personally ensured that all of this would be possible. Mike reported that “Nick and his team were incredibly supportive and made us feel very welcome during our visit for the airshow and when flying disabled children and adults from Cornwall”. 

Aerobility at RNAS Culdrose.

We look forward to visiting RNAS Culdrose again! If you live in the Cornwall area and would be interested in flying with Aerobility, please do get in touch with Geri Burton by email ( and we’ll make sure we let you know next time we visit.    

August 06, 2013

Freedom of Flight - Challenge Accepted!

As some of you may already know Aerobility member and great supporter, Pauline Gallagher, has been leading the Freedom of Flight Challenge over the past couple of years and has made great progress. With a wealth of experience, a lot of enthusiasm, and a dedicated team behind her, Pauline has made this brave idea into a very exciting reality.

The Freedom of Flight Challenge is simple - to fly into one aerodrome in every county in the UK. That's over 4000 nautical miles, divided into over 50 legs, each one flown by a disabled pilot, and each one funded by generous donations. Perhaps it's not that simple after all....

This is great challenge, raising both awareness and funds for disability flying. The effort needed to make it a success, with logistical obstacles to overcome and fundraising targets to be met, should not be underestimated. If you think you could help, either as a pilot, an operations expert or a keen fundraiser, then get in touch with Pauline. If you do nothing else, then simply spread the word! Tell your friends, family and neighbours. And if you can, visit their page and support the challenge by making a donation.

Well done to the Freedom of Flight team - keep up the hard work!

August 02, 2013

Solo Time At Tatenhill!

This week, we celebrated the first solo flight of Aerobility student Aaron Shields. Aaron has been a student at Tatenhill with Aerobility instructor Craig for just over a year and has shown great dedication to his flying, regularly making the 3-hour round trip from his home in Doncaster to get some circuit practice in!

A lovely day for a first solo!

With  any pre-solo nerves quickly overcome Aaron completed his solo in the PA-28 G-TALH with great skill. We've been told that the landing was particularly good, so Aaron must have been enjoying himself by the end!

A great achievement - onwards and upwards now!

A very big congratulations to Aaron, who thoroughly deserves this achievement after a lot of hard work.