WHAT IS AEROBILITY?
Ed.note: In view of the wide range of locations of those who read our posts on the Safety Blog, for those who may be unfamiliar with us I am taking this opportunity to outline the role of Aerobility as an important part of the UK’s General Aviation Community
Aerobility is a UK-registered charity founded in 1993 offering disabled people, without exception, the opportunity to fly an aeroplane.
For some, just that amazing first flight is enough to change their outlook on disability forever: "If I can fly a plane, what else can I do?"
Others, realising that the fantasy of flight is truly in their grasp, decide to continue their training - many all the way to securing a Private Pilot's Licence, some even with an outlook towards commercial flying.
Aerobility provides 'experience of a lifetime' trial flying lessons for as many terminally ill and disabled people as possible every year, also subsidised flying days for other disability charities and at-cost instruction and qualification flight training to disabled people.
How we operate
A User-Led Organisation, Aerobility is run largely by disabled aviators, for disabled people. Through various fundraising initiatives and careful management strategies we are able allow disabled people to fly for a fraction of the commercial rate. Aerobility also provides advice, knowledge and advocacy for disabled people who wish to fly, and we are the representative body for disabled aviation within the UK.
Aerobility has operating bases at a number of airfields in the UK: Our headquarters at Blackbushe on the Hampshire/Surrey border, at Tatenhill in the Midlands, and at Prestwick and Skye in Scotland. We also fly from many other airfields on temporary or “ad hoc” detachment.
With the help of Sponsors and Supporters, Aerobility operates a mixed fleet of light aircraft, balanced for capability, most being owned outright with others leased to suit demand.
· Our main training aircraft type is the Piper Warrior 161, adapted so that it can be flown by people with disabilities. Even severely disabled people can be hoisted into the cockpit, using our specially developed hoisting techniques, and electric robotic or manual hoists.
· We also have a PA32 Cherokee 6, a larger aircraft with more load capacity which allows us to take larger wheelchairs, power-chairs and a hoist with us on our flights; so that we can operate away from our usual bases without having to bring equipment by road.
· We recently added a brand new fuel-efficient Tecnam P2002 two-seater to the fleet, modified during build at the factory to meet our requirements - a 'World first' for the charity.
Following a major fundraising effort in 2012, we also own a fixed-base PA-28 flight simulator which is located at our main office at Blackbushe Airport, also have a mobile simulator which we can transport to exhibitions, shows and events.
Our funding and ambitions
Despite our professional appearance, and the astonishing outcomes that we produce, we rely on donations, in cash and in kind. These come from a number of commercial organisations and charitable trusts (including disabled veterans charities, and charities providing funds for improving the lives of physically-disabled or otherwise-impaired children), together with one-off and regular donations from supporters, and our own annual Aviators Ball fundraiser.
Constantly looking to further improve what we offer, it is our ambition to grow into a better, as well as bigger organisation; and we will need to continue to seek the funds to make this possible.
We thank you for your interest in our Safety Blog, which is showing a “hit level” well in excess of 10,000, and trust that you will continue to find our posts both informative and useful. Meanwhile we wish you a happy and trouble-free flying season!