On Saturday 02nd July our Projects Development Officer Myles went to Aerobility along with April and some of our families to trial this amazing experience out, below is a blog Myles has done on his experience.
“At the weekend myself and April from Strongbones went to Blackbushe Airport, Camberley to participate in a flying experience with Aerobility. I had been in contact with Harvey at Aerobility, who had sorted the whole experience for my friends and I to trial for Strongbones.
For this pilot experience I chose which friends I would be asking to attend so we had a range of different abilities to make sure the flying experience would work for lots of different individuals, from more able-bodied wheelchair users to the very complex wheelchair users.
When we arrived at the airport, it was very easy to park, there was plenty of disabled parking close to the office, we got out the car and met up with the other families. We then headed inside into a meeting room where we had introductions, safety briefing and demonstrations. Once we met our pilot for the day, Steve, we headed outside to our viewing area’, which was on a grassed area just outside the hanger. There were large wheelchair accessible picnic benches to sit at and enjoy the experience with our family and friends.
First, my friend, Summer, was helped into the plane and set off for her flight. I watched her taxi on the runway, then go to the check position for final checks before her plane took to the air. It was amazing to see her sat in the front seat waiting to take the controls once she was at a safe flying height. Within a few minutes she was out of sight, after about half an hour Summer was coming down and landing on the runway again. When she got out she was buzzing and wanted to do it again. After Summer it was Rhea’s turn. She went up with her Mum and Dad in the backseat of the plane. Rhea did so well sitting in the front and participating in the flight. It was then Hannah’s turn, Hannah’s Mum and Dad decided not to fly, instead sending up Hannah’s sister, Rosie. Rosie said the flight was amazing. The it was my turn.
I was escorted into the hanger with my Mum, Dad and April ready for me to be hoisted into the aircraft. Aerobility have a special extended Molift which made getting into the plane very easy. Steve, the pilot got in first then guided me in to position on the front seat next to him. He positioned my sling so I was comfortable and Dad and April got into the back of the plane in preparation for take off. We all had to wear headphones with microphones to ensure we could communicate throughout the flight. Once we were ready, we taxied to the runway, after final checks it was time to take off. I was nervous when the engines kicked in and we started going into the sky. When the plane levelled off I really enjoyed the flight, Steve talked to me the whole time, pointing out interesting places like the football stadium and a studio where Jurassic Park was filmed. Around halfway through my experience Steve instructed me to grab the controller, it was a black joystick like I use on my gaming console. It was a little bit difficult to navigate which way the plane was going but it was so exciting to be in control of the aircraft! After a slightly bumpy take off I was anticipating a bumpy landing, however it was so smooth and I had nothing to worry about at all. Once our wheels were firmly back on the ground we taxied back to the hanger where I was hoisted back out of the plane and into my wheelchair.
As I was the last flier, we gathered together and were presented with our certificates.
Flying an aircraft is something I never even thought about doing as it just wasn’t possible. Aerobility made the impossible possible.
I look forward to rolling this flying experience out to more young people so they can fly a plane too!
I am truly grateful to Aerobility for giving individuals, like me, the ability to do something extraordinary.
If you would like to see my GoPro footage of the flight, find it here –
Also, here is some other photographs from the day