May 31, 2016

Small Charity Week - 13th to 18th June

Hello Aerobility Supporters!

You can help us to win £150 in this year’s #ILoveSmallCharities Small Charity Week competitions just by posting a message on Facebook  or by Tweeting. Prize money aside, this is an amazing opportunity for you to support us in raising awareness of the work we do, which is even more valuable.

The competitions are open from June 13th – 18th and the charity that gets the most messages of support on each social media channel wins a £150 donation. Messages can be from
staff, volunteers, service users and supporters!
It’s really easy to post your message.

1. Take a photo of yourself holding up a poster with the following text: “I love Aerobility because (why you love us)”. You can print a copy of the poster template here:

2. Upload the photo to Twitter, making sure you include the following for your vote to be counted: @SCWeek2016 @Aerobility #ILoveSmallCharities


2. Upload the photo to the Small Charities Week Facebook page ( and include the following for your vote to be counted: @Aerobility Charity and #ILoveSmallCharities

Although the competition states they would prefer a photo, if you don’t have a camera you are welcome to simply write a message of love, following the instructions given above.

So get creative and tell the world why you love us between June 13th - 18th .

Please note any messages of love submitted outside these dates or missing @SCWeek2016 (for Twitter)/@Aerobility/#ILoveSmallChairties won’t be counted. For more information about the competition visit the Small Charity Week website

From Monday 13th June, we will begin posting our HQ selfies - we can't wait to see yours!

A huge thank you from everyone at Aerobility for your support.

May 26, 2016

Fulfilling a dream - Christian has gone solo!

Since joining us in March, our superstar flyer Christian Saleta is clocking up the hours in his pilot training.  He now has 42 hours under his belt with 1 hour and 4 minutes of those hours being solo.
Christian posing proudly on the wing of his beloved Fox Papa
Christian explained that becoming ready to go solo had taken a bit longer than anticipated - not because of his disability, but because he has felt more fearful as he has got older, especially of landing!

With help from CFI, Mike Owen, Christian managed to conquer his landing fears and successfully undertook his first solo flight last Tuesday 17th May! The day finished with a celebratory meal, which included a very special guest -  Jessica Cox, star of the film Right Footed.
Celebrating with friends and fellow flyers.
With an invigorated confidence, Christian's goal is to achieve his PPL with support from Aerobility by July this year and hopes to start planning for hi cross-country check very soon.

From everyone at Aerobility, congratulations on this incredible achievement!

You can read more about Christian's journey here:

May 25, 2016

National Fly Kids Day - Saturday 18th June

National Fly Kids Day
Saturday 18th June 2016

On Saturday 18th June 2016 for National Fly Kids Day, Aerobility in partnership with Aviation Without Borders, are offering free of charge trial flights to disabled young people aged under 21 years who have never flown an aircraft before. 

You can read more about National Fly Kids Day here.

To register your interest please contact Ellie
(Eleanor Jones - Service Development Co-ordinator - maternity cover)
Email or call 0303 303 1230.

Don't delay, as places are limited!

AEP Air Traffic Control

Last Saturday saw the group learning about Air Traffic Control.  They looked at the various ways that air traffic controllers communicate with each other and how that has changed over the years.  They looked at the old style progress strips and then looked at the computer systems that are used today. They watched a very interesting video from NATS and answered questions they were given on a worksheet.  To end the session the group split in to pairs and went in to separate rooms to speak to each other using radios.  They followed the dialogue that air traffic controllers would use and all did very well using the phonetic alphabet.

May 24, 2016

Jessica Cox - Visit to Aerobility

A huge thank you to Jessica Cox, Star of the film Right Footed for your recent visit to Aerobility. It was a pleasure to spend the day with you. We head all about Jessica's latest adventures and received an opportunity to see first-hand some of the incredible things Jessica is able to do with her feet!  
Jessica flying our PA28 G-BMFP
Meeting with Jensen for the first time 10 years after becoming his mentor from afar.   
 Jessica and her husband Patrick then joined Aerobility Chief Exec Mike Miller-Smith, Operations Manager Brian Catchpoole and our Flyers Claire and Christian, to celebrate Christian's first solo flight which took place on the same day!

 The Aerobility family hope to see you again very soon!

Join the first ever disabled team for The Big Pull 2016!

Saturday 30th July 2016 sees the return of the Big Pull, this time hosted at Aerobility's HQ Blackbushe Airport and will form one of the main Blackbushe Air Day events. 

If you'd like to be part of the first disabled team, please contact for more information - place on the team are limited, so don't delay!

The distance to pull between the start and finish line is 100 m. Friends, family and colleagues 
are of course welcome to cheer you on and they will enjoy the diverse 
airfield activities going on during the day.

Please help us support Aerobility, the charity that has done so much
to help injured and disabled people experience

Our Flyer & Volunteer Mike Cavell Introduces Helping Hands for the Blind in Basingstoke to Aerobility

On Monday 23rd May, Aerobility Flyer & Volunteer Mike Cavell attending the monthly coffee morning held by Helping Hands for the Blind to introduce Aerobility.  

Thank you very much Mike for spreading the world about the benefits of flying and we very much look forward to supporting more people with sensory impairments in their discovery of a life without limits.

May 20, 2016

Aviation Education Programme Trip to Farnborough Airport and Fire Station

On Saturday 7th May we were incredibly lucky to be invited to Farnborough Airport and Fire Station. The day began early with a briefing from Pete about what the day had in store for the group.

The group then had an amazing day climbing over fire trucks, firing the water canons and hoses, taking part in the hose drill and going deep under ground into the smoke filled 'rat run' where they had to rescue 'Billy.'

The group then made their way over to the Airport Terminal and the hangars where they had a look at the very swish private jets housed there.  

The group were presented with certificates at the end of the day - all with big smiles on their faces.

We'd all like to say a massive thank you to Pete and the team of fire fighters.  They made our day very special.  In the words of Matt 'It was one of  the best day of my life!'

May 16, 2016

Jessica Cox, star of Right Footed, appearing at Aerobility tomorrow!

On Tuesday 17th May 2016 Jessica Cox is visiting Aerobility.  

 Born without arms, Jessica's most famous accomplishment was learning how to fly.  It took three years, three states, four airplanes and three flight instructors for Jessica to achieve her Light Sport Pilot Certificate.  In 2011 she received the Guinness World record for being the first person certified to fly an airplane with only their feet.

Jessica is also a Motivational Speaker, a Goodwill Ambassador for Handicap International (where she has advocated for disability rights in Ethiopia, Philippines and the US Senate), a Taekwondo black belt and Taekwondo Certified Trainer.

The link below provides more information about Jessica's incredible story:
Or for more information about Jessica's movie, Right Footed, click here:

On Tuesday 17th May 2016 at around 2pm Jessica will be arriving at Aerobility.  She will be flying one of our aircraft, and we look forward to introducing her to Aerobility, our Flyers and our Volunteers.  Come and join the party!  This is her first trip to UK so let's give her a really good welcome.

Flyers and Volunteers should arrive at 2pm.  To book your place please contact Ellie (Eleanor Jones - Service Development Co-ordinator - maternity cover) Email Tel 0303 303 1230.

Our Flyers - Simon's story shows how learning to fly can help to relieve stress and lift your mood

‘When I am in the cockpit none of my problems matter in fact the higher I am off the ground the less bothered I am about everything.’ 

In 2004, Simon was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  The PTSD and its social stigma caused Simon to feel low, doubt himself and question everything he did which was such a shock as he had always been very confident, determined and career orientated expecting to move up the ranks from his position as Corporal Section Commander in the Army.

Simon’s interest in flying came through a seven day gliding experience and a one day behind the scenes programme at Heathrow which included a flight simulator experience.  Simon first heard about Aerobility through Band of Brothers (part of Help for Heroes that provide lifelong access to support and opportunities to their members) who invited Simon to a flying Experience day at Aerobility.  During this day he learnt more about the scholarship opportunities available from Help for Heroes and The Air League (who are supported in this project by Boeing).  Simon says ‘The first lesson was life changing; I felt on top of the world and was completely hooked.  I hadn’t felt like that for a long time’.  With support from Aerobility he successfully applied for a scholarship for his lessons.   

Simon says ‘My wife noticed the difference straight away.  She saw how flying lifted my mood and that I smoked less.  Everybody should learn to fly, it’s a different world where you get a different perspective on life and can leave your cares behind.  I would like to thank everybody at Aerobility for the phenomenal experience they have given me.  Even if I wasn’t funded somehow I would find a way to continue flying.’

Simon has completed 8 hours training over 8 lessons and is currently working towards his Private Pilot’s License (PPL).  ‘I don’t yet know where it will take me, I need to be realistic, but I do know I want to give back so that others will have the opportunity to benefit from flying.’

May 13, 2016

Aerobility Flyers and Volunteers visit RAF Lakenheath

On Thursday 12th May 2016 a group of Aerobility Flyers and Volunteers visited RAF Lakenheath.  Highlights of the day included watching five F15s fly over and the opportunity to see scale of base.

Aerobility would particularly like to thank RAF Lakenheath for being so welcoming and providing us with such a fantastic tour.

May 10, 2016

The Big Pull 2016

Become part of our first ever disabled team!

Where: Blackbushe Airport, Camberley
When: 30th July 1200 -1400

Saturday 30th July 2016 will see the seconding running of 'The Big Pull' where teams will race against the clock pulling an iconic WW2 Harvard Warbird Aircraft. This great spectacle will be part of the Blackbushe Air Day, which takes place on the same day.
The event originally took place in 2012 at Goodwood racing circuit to raise funds for Aerobility as part of Prospects ATCOs' Branch and the National Air Traffic Services challenge to do something 'Big' for the charity. Teams from across NATS competed on the day each pulling the Harvard down the finishing straight. Air Traffic Controllers from the London Terminal Control Centre at Swanwick finally winning by posting the quickest time.

As a result of doing something Big, NATS staffed raised a staggering £150,000 which smashed the original target of raising sufficient funds to purchase the Tecnam aircraft for the charity.

2016 sees the return of the Big Pull, this time hosted at Aerobility's HQ Blackbushe Airport, and as part of the family friendly and open to the public Blackbushe Air Day.

This year the event has an added element, in addition to the NATS teams and of course the defending champions, other corporate teams and groups are invited take part and for the first time Big Pull 2016 will see a disabled team take part.

Here teams can create their own team fundraising page. We are limiting entries to 12 teams, with recommended team size being 7 aircraft pullers. The distance to pull between the start and finish line is 100m. Friends, family and colleagues are of course welcome to cheer you on and they will enjoy the diverse airfield activities going on during the day.

We plan to enter two teams of disabled ‘pullers’. The exact make-up of each team is yet to be decided, but is likely to be made up of a mixture of disabilities and we may level the playing field by asking all participants to use a wheelchair.

If you are up to the challenge, please register you interest with Brian Catchpoole, Aerobility Operations Manager (Email  Tel 0303 303 1230).

This is a great opportunity to show off what can be achieved, let’s put on a good show.

May 09, 2016

Our flyers - Ben's story shows how learning to fly can inspire you, broaden your horizons and provide unexpected opportunities

Ben was introduced to Aerobility through Help for Heroes (he was medically discharged from the Army following an injury during a tour in Afghanistan). Ben successfully applied for a flying scholarship from The Air League (who are supported in this project by Boeing).  Ben has now completed 30 hours flying and is flying solo.  Ben plans to gain his Private Pilot’s License (PPL) this Summer and then apply to be a Commercial Pilot.  In preparation for his application Ben has gone back to College and is studying Science and Higher Maths. 

'Flying was something I always wanted to do but I had thought it was out of my reach.  Flying has opened doors for me and broadened my horizons.  I am so humble and grateful for the massive opportunities I have been given.  Everyone at Aerobility is so helpful and has done so much for me.  I have been so inspired by the circle of people I have met through Aerobility and I now have a real chance of a career in aviation.’

'A day me and my family will never forget was the presentation of my scholarship at St James’s Palace by Prince Philip in August 2014.  The unbelievable possibilities I have received through gaining my scholarship have been life changing.  Working towards a career in aviation has given me something to focus on and has helped me transition from my combat role in the Army.  Flying is so very different from my current job as a Mortgage Adviser and has definitely filled a gap.  My dream is to fly my wife and grandparents to France for lunch.  I am so proud that my daughter is planning to follow in my footsteps, she loves to fly, has joined the Air Cadets and is thinking about a career in Aviation.’

May 06, 2016

Our Flyers - through hard work and dedication Cliff has proved to himself that he is still capable of achieving anything he set his mind to

Cliff is currently 4 months into an 18 month Commercial Helicopter Pilot training programme through Wings for Warriors (with funding from Help for Heroes and the Household Cavalry Foundation).  Cliff is also undertaking training modules to be a Commercial Fixed Wing Pilot (self-funded) as he is always looking for opportunities to do more and enhance his skills and employability.  Although his aviation career is just starting his incredible journey shows how, with determination, nothing is out of your reach if you put in the hard work and are prepared to make sacrifices.

Cliff served in the Household Cavalry including working as a driver, gunner, medic, marksman and demolitions expert.  In December 2009 Cliff was wounded in action on tour in Afghanistan: the armoured vehicle he was in was blown up and the shock waves of the explosion caused fractures to his spine, pelvis, hip & heals.  His shoulder was dislocated, his left leg shattered in ten places, his right calf completely blown off and he also had shrapnel damage.  Once stabilised and flown back to the UK Cliff had 12 operations over 10 weeks and then 3 years rehabilitation at Headley Court with a further 15 operations to try and save his legs.  During rehabilitation Cliff gradually came to the realisation that he would not be able to go back into service. 

Through the Army’s Battleback programme Cliff enjoyed a Group Aviation Experience (including a 30 minute trial flight) and an intensive week of ground school and flying lessons with Aerobility.

Following another year of surgery and rehabilitation he gained a scholarship from Help for Heroes to gain his Private’s Pilot License (PPL) which he completed through 45 lessons.  Cliff has now completed 90 hours of flying with Aerobility.

Cliff originally took on gaining his PPL as a challenge and opportunity to prove to himself that he was still capable of achieving anything he set his mind too (he had already taken up polo, triathlons and long distance swimming with similar goals).  He treated achieving his PPL as a job studying at Aerobility 9-5 every weekday for 2 months during which he passed all his exams.  But it was the flying lessons he really enjoyed. ‘I enjoyed the excitement of not knowing what was going to happen day to day – it reminded me of my time serving in the Army.  Once I achieved my PPL I knew I wanted a career in Aviation and I spent a considerable amount of time researching my options.’

His aviation career dreams had to be put on hold for 7 months for further surgery after which he passed the assessment for training to be a helicopter pilot and Cliff started his training in January 2016.

‘I know that once qualified my career may take me anywhere in the world.  Commercial training is a whole different league to gaining my PPL but without the opportunities provided to me by Aerobility I would never have been accepted onto the Commercial Helicopter Pilot Training course.  I am so grateful to my wife for her support; it is a real challenge for her as I can only come home from Aberdeen once a month’.

May 03, 2016

Our Flyers - Mark finds the freedom of flying has brought back his ambition and drive

Mark has always been very self-reliant and ambitious.  Following his mother’s death from cancer, Mark joined the Navy when he was 17 years old and over 1.5 years passed the 52 exams required to become a Navy Engineer.  He was medically discharged in 2004 (aged 23 years) with severe back and neck injuries following a powerboat crash whilst in service.  Mark has been in pain every day since the accident and two years ago his back gave out and he temporarily lost the use of his legs.  This was a huge physical challenge for Mark who had always been very active and sporty.

Mark joined Band of Brothers (part of Help for Heroes that provide lifelong access to support and opportunities to their members) and in April 2015 was offered a trial flight at Aerobility.  Mark had always wanted to fly and with support from Aerobility staff he successfully applied for funding from Help for Heroes and The Air League (who are supported in this project by Boeing) for lessons to achieve his Private Pilot’s License (PPL). At the same time Mark also started full time work as a Salesperson in a Car Dealership.  Mark has now completed 16 hours of flying over 20 lessons, is about to start flying solo and aims to have achieved his PPL by September 2016.  Once qualified he plans to apply to be a commercial pilot.

‘I get such a buzz from flying and have found my drive and ambition to achieve again.  I am very excited about my future career and the foundations I am creating for a new life.  I am getting married in June, we are buying a house in July and then planning to start a family.  I am so grateful to my amazing fiancĂ© Lucy for all her support and encouragement she has transformed my life.  When I was out of work and living on benefits I felt so restricted.  My world has now opened up, the freedom I feel in the air helps me manage my pain and it feels so great to be using my brain again.  My flying scholarship is an opportunity I never thought I would have and I know that if I push myself I can become a commercial pilot.’