October 25, 2016

Three solo flights in just two weeks!

Within the space of two weeks, we have been delighted to announce first solo flights by three ex servicemen, Paul Spanner, Mark Sines and Mark Bartlett - an incredible achievement for each of them!

This would not have been possible without the combined resources and partnership of Aerobility, Help for Heroes, The Air League and Boeing UK - and of course, some serious determination and dedication from all three men themselves. 

Not only are they a total inspiration, but they all scored 100% in their Air Law exams! This is pure testament to how hard they have worked - and perhaps evidence that the inter-service rivalry is still alive and well!

Each of them individually marked their success on their social media with some great images and heartfelt words about their journeys to this point, which we have gathered for you below: 

Paul setting of for his first solo flight.
Paul Spanner 
"Well its been a long time coming but this Thursday past I took to the skies of Surrey and Hampshire solo for the first time, Supported by Aerobility, The Air League and Boeing UK and Help for Heroes Band of Brothers. 

My journey with Aerobility has been life changing, building confidence and a significant cornerstone in my recovery from a brain injury sustained in 2013. The journey is not over yet though there is more to do and much more to experience with this amazing organisation

Paul beaming after a successful solo landing. 
Thank you to the Aerobility team especially Anneliese for signing me off on the first chapter of a new and exciting journey. Who would have thought just over a year from first being introduced to the Charity I would ride and Ski for Great Britain, pass my MSc, be accepted for a scholarship to read for a PhD, oh and captain an aircraft all on my own. 

Paul and Aerobility Flying Instructor, Anneliese Perrior. 
This is the beginning of great things and my debt of gratitude can not be expressed enough. It was my partner Tracey who led this horse to water and I am drinking from a fire hydrant now - I truly love Tracey for guiding me so far over what has been at times a difficult path to follow for us both and hope to take her flying with me very soon"

Mark setting off for his first solo flight

Mark Sines
"Well today I need to thank my lovely wife, big style - if it wasn't for her love, support and belief in me I would not have been here today at Blackbushe Airport. It has been one year and one month since she bought me the first trial flight.Since then and thanks to all the support, patients, and perseverance from the fantastic instructors at Aerobility, I have now flown solo today for the first time!

It has been six hard years for my family since I woke up one morning in severe pain and unable to walk. Three major operations to my back and neck followed in an attempt to rectify the severe stress placed on my spine during my Army service, and give me a chance to gain movement back in my legs. I am fortunate these procedures were largely successful, although I am left with uncontrollable intermittent leg paralysis due to irreparable nerve damage. I put my family through hell with the severe pain, depression and mood swings, but through it all they have stuck by me. 
Mark with Aerobility Flying Instructor, Christine Stopher.
Flying with Aerobility has brought a positive change - when I have had a bad week and been in a lot of pain, just sitting in the aeroplane makes such a difference. For the first time I have control over something - it's just me with no medical professionals telling me what I can and can't do. 
I also owe a big thanks to Help for Heroes, The Air League and Boeing UK who as an ex serviceman have awarded me a grant to live my dream of training to obtain my PPL. 

Apart from marrying my beautiful wife today has to be one of the biggest highlights in my life since it completely changed six years ago. Aerobility make the dreams of many people with a disability who want to fly come true, and today they did that for me. With their support they have made me believe in myself again, restored my self-esteem and brought my dream of taking my wife for a flight even closer. Thank you!"

Mark Bartlett
A substantial solo flight smile from Mark.
"I have always wanted to fly and today I went solo! I'm so grateful to Band of Brothers for introducing me to Aerobility, who supported me in gaining funding from Help for Heroes and the Air League to make this possible. I'm one big step closer to achieving my goal of PPL - lots of thanks to everyone at Aerobility, Help for Heroes, the Air League and Boeing for funding this opportunity; and of course most importantly, the wifey, Lucy Bartlett for supporting me too. 

Arriving back safely at HQ. 
I get such a buzz from flying and have found my drive and ambition to achieve again. I'm really excited about my future career and the foundations I'm creating for a new 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 great to be using my brain again - I know if I push myself, I can become a commercal pilot."

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