Patrons and Ambassadors
Patrons - Sir Gerald and Lizzie Howarth
Sir Gerald Howarth is the Conservative MP for Aldershot, former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the MoD as Minister for International Security Strategy, Chairman of the all-party RAF Group, officer of the Parliamentary Aerospace Group, Trustee of the Vulcan to the Sky Trust, President of the Air Display Association, and Private Pilot.
In addition to this impressive list of interests, Sir Gerald and wife Lizzie are enthusiastic Aerobility Patrons, devoting much time and energy to our charity.
Patron - Buzz Aldrin
Buzz came to join us for the Global Flight Simulator Challenge, flew our sim, and took the opportunity to meet and talk to a number of our pilots, students and volunteers. He had such a good time that he returned for the Aviators Ball. A seasoned pilot, instantly recognising the lift that Aerobility brings to disabled lives, Buzz is delighted to join us as a patron and life member. We're over the Moon.
Former Chief Executive Officer of NATS, and prior to that Senior Vice President of the Air Systems Division for Thales and a member of the company’s Executive Committee. A Chartered Engineer, Richard holds a first-class honours degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Kingston University and an MBA from Cranfield School of Management. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Engineering from Kingston University in January 2008.
Richard chose Aerobility as NATS CEO Charity of the Year in 2012 and was instrumental in the corporate funding and employee fundraising which ultimately raised £150,000 for the charity, enabling the purchase of the world's first aircraft designed for disabled pilots. Richard continues to support and positively influence the charity.
Airshow commentator, Manager of the Blue Eagles, Operations Manager and Display Coordinator of the Army Historic Flight - Major George 'Smokey' Bacon MBE is also a proud (and seemingly tireless) Ambassador for Aerobility.
Arthur Vaughan Williams
Former Royal Marine Arthur was the first 'home grown' Aerobility PPL. Having started ab initio training with us, he gained his licence in 2009, and regularly hired our adapted aircraft, taking his wheelchair with him. Now he flies his own adapted Piper Cub. Arthur embarked on a career as a TV sports presenter, and won a BAFTA for his coverage of the Paralympic events in the London 2012 Olympic Games. Recently he presented Channel 4's 'Flying to the Ends of the Earth'. If I can fly a plane, what else can I do?...
In March 1999 Brian Jones and Bertrand Piccard completed the first non-stop flight around the world in a balloon. This achievement, which had eluded many, recorded the longest flight in aviation history both in distance and duration. The 29,000 mile epic lasted twenty days and achieved seven world records. Following their success, they were awarded the Olympic Order, and later that year Brian was invested as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.
Brian's love of the air started at the age of 16, following his first flight in a glider. It continued throughout his 13 year RAF flying career, and beyond, when he specialized in gliders, airships and balloons as a flight instructor. By the early nineties Brian was a balloon pilot examiner, and the UK's Chief Flying Instructor responsible for the appointment and training of all balloon instructors. It was this broad experience which led to his being invited to take part in the Breitling Orbiter project.
Today, Brian continues to instruct and examine balloon pilots and flies a hot air replica of the famous Breitling Orbiter 3 balloon in various countries. He is also a joint owner of a Rockwell Commander 112 TCA which is hard to miss in its newly painted Breitling livery.
He is the honorary president of the Swiss Handiflight, a relatively young association affiliated to Aerobility helping to extend the access to flying for the disabled in other countries of the world.
"I am proud to be considered an ambassador for Aerobility, and I look forward to making a significant contribution in the pursuit of its goals", he says.
Jon is an award-winning TV personality, impressionist and comedian, and is also a presenter on BBC Sky at Night. He has been a great friend to Aerobility and has entertained and been a wonderful Master of Ceremonies at Aerobility events such as Aerobility Aurora.
We first met Jon at a visit to the Red Arrows – we quickly learned of shared enthusiasm for flight and adventure!