Kevin Arblaster (39) of Aldridge has, through a scheme offered by the charity Aerobility managed to overcome his Cerebral Palsy to ‘fly solo’ for the first time in his life.
Mr Arblaster, who has been flying regularly since 2007 had until recently always been accompanied by a co-pilot or instructor. On 12th December, Kevin took the huge step of flying a light aircraft on his own at Tatenhill, near Burton Upon Trent.
Commenting on his experience, Kevin said he couldn’t believe what he had just achieved.
“Having Cerebral Palsy and being able to take control of an aircraft is a great experience in itself. However when your instructor feels that it is time for you take the massive step of doing your first solo, it is a totally different experience all together.”
Kevin explains that for a person with disabilities, a short solo flight such as this is about more than being able to control an aircraft; it means that “within the past 10 minutes you have in fact overcome your disability”.
Aerobility is a British charity (reg. 1081804) that enables light aviation for disabled and profoundly ill adults and children, turning the dream of flying into an exhilarating and fulfilling reality, allowing them to pilot an aircraft. Flying offers a complete change for the disabled, stretching horizons in every sense. Outcomes of flights include a realisation of ability and that life is very much for living.
Mike Miller Smith, CEO of Aerobility said, "Flying an aeroplane solo is an achievement for anybody, let alone somebody with a disability such as Kevin. He has worked really hard, and with the time and support of our instructors and our specially adapted aircraft, Kevin has been able to achieve his dream. We're really pleased to be part of this fantastic achievement. We work with over 300 disabled people every year, more and more of which are from the Midlands as we develop our Flight Training Centre at Tatenhill Airfield with the help of our friends at Tatenhill Aviation. Credit is also very much due to Kevin's Aerobility Instructor Craig Knott"
Aerobility operates from four centres across the UK, including the airfield at Tatenhill.