November 29, 2017

The Aviators Ball 2017

A huge thank you to all those involved in making Saturday night's event so fantastic, our most successful fundraiser to date! 

From our main Aviators Ball sponsors NATS, Boeing UK, 2Excel and Breitling (and for their continued support) to all those companies and individuals who donated such wonderful auction items, to our staff and volunteers for pulling out all the stops both in the run up and on the night itself and, of course, to all those who attended and gave so generously on the night - I thank you all, we quite literally couldn't have done it without you!

The 2017 Aviators Ball tops off an amazing year for Aerobility in terms of disabled people achieving something amazing literally every day, through to some great fundraising; with volunteers and flyers taking part in wing walking and sky diving, and appearances on both the BBC's Songs of Praise and Blue Peter. 

The £100k raised will go a long way to making many more dreams of flying a reality in 2018.  These funds truly enable us to continue our delivery of life changing flying and aviation based activities – something worth flying for!

I hope that your heads have recovered and that we'll see you again next year, if not before!

Mike Miller-Smith MBE
Chief Executive

Here's the link to some of the photos from Saturday evening:

November 22, 2017

Auction prizes - happy bidding!

Here's a rundown of all the Aviators Ball auction items that we would be only too pleased to receive external bids on!  Simply register your interest by emailing

A tour of Boeing's commercial facilities in Washington State.

Vintage flight to the Royal International Air Tattoo

A chance to fly in a WWII survivor 

Breitling Jet Team flight 

Blades trip to Cannes for the Red Bull Air Race

What an incredible opportunity!

Red Arrows End Of Season Guest Night

Shona Bowman and Deborah Mills represented Aerobility as invited guests of the Red Arrows at their End of Season Guest Night held at RAF Cranwell on Friday 3rd November. 
The new team for 2018 were announced and we're excited that they will all be attending the Aviators Ball this Saturday.
Sir Ranulph Fiennes was the guest speaker that evening, pictured below with Chairman Shona Bowman.
 Shona and Deborah.

One Rivet At A Time - The Infrastructure Takes Shape

One Rivet at a Time – The Infrastructure Takes shape
Another few weeks brings us ever closer to the start of our build. John Hirst continues to beaver away at our workshop infrastructure and has presented us with two more benches built with dimensions especially advantageous for wheelchair users. On to these benches we have mounted a small pillar drill, vice and grinding wheel. Can’t wait to start using this kit - anyone got access to a larger hangar ;-) 
John has also completed the dividers and Gail intends to cover these to enable one side to host a ‘story board’ explaining the build.

Bernie and Alan are installing extra sockets to power all this extra equipment. Rumour has it that a compressor will arrive next week, so watch this space. Currently, to coin a much over used cliché, the hangar looks like a ‘bomb has hit it’, but I’m quietly confident that everything will be in place for the 
Rudder Course on December 18th – 19th.

The Rudder course was oversubscribed for which I am most heartened. Eleven people have been informed that they have a place, however in the event of a cancellation, I am happy to put names on a reserve list. Those attending the course will help to ensure we have a core of volunteers for when we start the build, but rest assured there is still plenty of work to be done by others.

Talking of which, I am very aware that some of our volunteer builders may well be wholly new to using tools and what goes on in a workshop. Some may well prefer a more supportive environment when they first start. For these people we are planning some introductory classes, probably to start early next year. If you’ve never worked in a workshop before, watch out, these sessions will be for you and can be tailored to your specific needs.

Brian Catchpoole

Aerobility Operations Manager

November 17, 2017

Hart Civic Day - 24th October 2017

We were chosen as one of the 'Heart of Hart' campaign's seven charities for 2017.
Last month the Chairman of the Council and his 'Chain Gang' visited us to find out a little bit more about Aerobility, what we do and the difference we make.
Their feedback was hugely positive, as per the email sent to our CEO, see below.

Dear Mike

Thank you for organising the trip to Aerobility so successfully for my Civic Day last week.  My civic head guests found you and your team to be awe inspiring and a memory that they will all hold as special.  

The “Chain Gang” (twelve Mayors, Chairmen and their consorts from neighbouring Hampshire authorities) enjoyed a highly memorable afternoon.  The visit was very well received by our guests and they were particularly impressed by your informative presentation and the demonstrations your colleagues put on for us.

I know they were all greatly impressed by our time at Aerobility.  Could you please pass on my grateful thanks to all involved in making it such a special visit, and for introducing us to the work of the Aerobility team.

The lunch and afternoon tea supplied by Ewa at The Bushe Café was really enjoyable and everyone said what a good visit it was.  Please also pass on my thanks to all at the Bushe Café.

Mike – thank you again for your hospitality.

With Kindest Regards
Yours sincerely

Councillor Gerry Crisp
Chairman of the Council
Whilst visiting, the Chairman, also officially opened our new classroom building. 

A 'trip' in the simulator with one of our pilots, Damian Hunter.

Brooklands Aircraft Factory and Flight Shed opening

Written by Brian Catchpoole, Operations Manager, Aerobility.

Brooklands Aircraft Factory Opening by Prince Michael of Kent – 13/11/2017

On Monday it was my privilege to represent Aerobility at the Opening of the new Brooklands Aircraft Factory and Flight Shed. This quite massive project has involved moving a World War 2 (Grade 1 Listed) hangar, its complete restoration, and subsequent rebuilding on a new site. The hangar exhibition have been completely redesigned and now pays homage to Brooklands aircraft manufacturing heritage. On entering the building visitors can ‘clock in’ and then try any of the hands-on exhibits such as ‘Tinsmithing’, ‘Propeller Works’ and Carpentry Shop’. Aerobility were involved early on in the project with advice on Inclusive Access, and I’m pleased to report that the new complex is indeed very disability friendly.
I was able to talk at length with Andy Cornish the Aviation Heritage Skills Officer, about Brooklands educational project, which aims to provide basic engineering skills to the new generation. A workshop has been created in the Flight Shed, and it’s aimed to provide both classroom and workshop based training. Considering the skills set that will be required by those involved in our own ‘One Rivet at a Time’ project it’s remarkable just how close a fit this scheme could be with our own needs. Keep a look out in the future for possible Aerobility / Brooklands collaboration in this area.

Brooklands has always been an enjoyable and full day out and this great new addition is clearly aimed at the younger members of society. But, no matter what your age, I highly recommend a visit.

Brian and his toy aeroplanes
Prince Michael of Kent officially opening the newly renovated hangar.

November 10, 2017

Unwanted currency - we need yours!

We have an oil drum in our new building and it needs filling, but not with oil!
Do you have any unwanted foreign currency lurking in your home?  Have a quick look in that spare change pot on the bedside table, check if there's any rolling around in your suitcase or holdall, maybe even down the back of the sofa..?
Aerobility can exchange these coins (and notes!) to help fund even more life changing flight experiences for those with disabilities, and those who are profoundly ill.
Drop in to Blackbushe and drop off those dollars, euros, francs, yen, krona, lira, rubles (and many more.)
We can also take those last few old pound coins off your hands!
Happy hunting!

November 08, 2017

We're off... One Rivet At A Time

One Rivet at a Time Update

Hi All,

As those of you who attended will already know, we had a very useful meeting last Thursday. Many of you pledged your support for the project which is most heartening. I hope you all enjoyed meeting Jonathan Porter who will supply the kit as the UK agent for Zenair. Just to confirm that Aerobility have ordered the first part of the kit, and our expectation is that we will take delivery in January next year. However, I’m pleased to announce that Jonathan brought along the tail section, and so we can therefore start construction immediately.

In order to get started, Jonathan will run a two day course, ostensibly to assemble the tail, but clearly we will also become practised in the skills necessary to assemble the remaining aircraft. This course is scheduled for December 18th and 19 and it would be good for as many of you as we can manage to attend, but certainly it would help to train a core group of  people to help the project move forward. There will be a limited number of places available and those attending will need to commit to both days. The course promises to be both thorough and entertaining, and those of you who met Jonathan will know just how enthusiastic he is. Please let me know by email if you would like to be considered, I for one can’t wait.

We have continued to obtain tools from many generous benefactors, probably more tools than we need, but it will enable us to extend the reach of the project to include many others. People who perhaps would not wish to be part of the actual build, but maybe have never had the opportunity to use basic hand tools.

John Hirst, who with his son built the magnificent  benches now in the hangar, has started to build our partitioning system. This consists of units that can be moved to accommodate the varying needs of the project and the operational needs of the other aircraft in the fleet. This will assist to demark the area and support safety during the build. Thanks John as always.

Your scribe continues to work towards obtaining an engine, we have options in the pipe line and hopefully something positive to report before the end of the year.

Finally, I have included everyone who I believe has expressed an interest in the project, but if you know of anyone I have left out, please let me know or encourage them to contact me.


Brian Catchpoole
Operations Manager