An Aerobility Update

Hello Aerobility Friends!

Wow, what a busy few weeks we’ve had here at Blackbushe Airport and across the UK! We’ve had solo flights, first time flights, simulator flights, and much more. Below is just a snippet of all the fun we’ve been having – if you would like to include your stories of aviation fun please do send us any photos and stories and we’ll include them too! You can email Geri Burton on

The Flying…

With so much going on, it’s difficult to know where to start! I think you’ll all agree that our flying endeavours are probably the best place.

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been very pleased to send two of our students off on their first solo flights. Cliff, a Help for Heroes scholar, has been working very hard on both his flying and his ground school and all of this hard work paid off with his first solo flight from Blackbushe Airport.

A very happy Cliff!

Congratulations from Aerobility!

On the very same afternoon, Aerobility member Geoff also took to the skies all on his own for the first time. Geoff has been incredibly dedicated to his flying, spending many an hour in the simulator practising his circuits. CFI James was even more excited than usual and very proud of his successful students.

All that hard work has paid off!

Another big congratulations!

So from solo flights to first time flights, over the past couple of weeks we’ve waved off three very excited and slightly nervous friends for their trial lessons. Matthew, Justin and Stephen from the Camberley and Farnham Community Groups were part of a group that came along to an Aviation Experience back in March. Truly bitten by the Aerobility bug, they went home and resolved to save £5 a week until they had enough for their first trial flight. With the sun shining and the money saved, the only thing left to do was take to the skies!

Stephen about to take off!

Matthew receiving his certificate from James

All aboard for Justin!

These trial flights were great examples of personal determination and we were all very proud of their achievements. We had reports of speed demons and future display pilots so watch this space for their next Aerobility flight!

On a sunny day a couple of weeks ago, we finally had the weather to welcome Westgate School from Slough to Blackbushe Airport. Having been disappointed by the rain and wind last summer, the staff and students at Westgate School had been waiting an entire year for their chance to go flying. Everyone had a great day, with 10 young people taking to the skies for the first time, and we hope that this will be the beginning of a great partnership.

James giving a pre-flight briefing and introduction

Another great day was had when the charity Sportability came to visit and spend the day flying with us. Sportability’s aim is to provide sport and challenging pursuits for people with paralysis and they share our motto “If I can do this, then what else can I do?” The day was such a success that Sportability is already planning their next visit in August!

The Events…

Not only have we been busy flying but we’ve also been hosting events and attending events that others have hosted for us! The members of the Farnborough Aerospace Consortium were very generous in their support and held their Summer Charity Ball in aid of Aerobility. With friends such as Bruce Dickinson present it was certain to be a good night, and with just over £7,000 raised it turned into a great night! We’d like to thank the Farnborough Aerospace Consortium and all that supported the event for their fantastic efforts.

Not liking to be outdone, Aerobility hosted our own day of fun and games at Blackbushe Airport. The Members’ Day was a chance to say goodbye to the old BDFA, sign off the accounts and welcome Aerobility formally into existence. It was also a chance to catch up with old friends, enjoy the sunshine and take to the skies.

Aerobility member Mike with CEO Mike and the Tecnam!
The day was well attended and the BBQ was certainly a highlight, with CFI James and NATs very own Paul Winstanley and Chris Edwards ensuring we only lost a couple of burgers through the grill… With our fleet joined by Tecnam UK’s example aircraft we were also able to provide member flying throughout the afternoon.  We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who attended, and also big congratulations to the recipients of our annual awards.

NATs CEO Richard Deakin being presented an award for Outstanding Support

Richard with Mary Doyle, Aerobility's Aviators Shield winner for 2013

An incredible likeness to G-BSYY, but a bit tastier!
Last week, we were also very honoured to be invited to exhibit at the Disability Employment Conference in Westminster. This was the Launchpad for the government’s new campaign – Disability Confident. The day was very well attended, with everyone from David Cameron to Vince Cable to Sir Stelios of EasyJet taking to the stage. An interesting campaign no doubt, and the beginning of a debate which Aerobility were very pleased to be involved in.

Geri, Mike and Shona with Sir Stelios!

On the TV…

Last week, Aerobility member and Ambassador Arthur Williams demonstrated his passion for aviation in a documentary about the World War II fighter bomber the mosquito – The Plane That Saved Britain. The documentary was informative, interesting, heartfelt, and well worth watching! If you missed it on Sunday, you can still catch up by following this link -

On The Move…

This week, we have based G-BSYY at RNAS Culdrose with Aerobility instructor Mike Owen and Aerobility member Dave Rawlins. The pair will also be accompanied by Aerobility Ambassador and GliderFX’s Guy Westgate. As we speak, the RNAS Culdrose Airshow is well under way and we are hoping to meet lots of new supporters and spread the Aerobility message further.

RNAS Culdrose have also very kindly agreed to let us base ourselves there for the next few days in order to be able to provide flying opportunities for those for whom Blackbushe is a bit too far away! We’re looking forward to flying lots of new people over the next few days and getting to know a new community.  

The 2013 Aerobility Raffle

A quick reminder for you all that the raffle will be closing on the 26th August and all tickets have to be returned to Blackbushe by that date in order to be included. Make sure you don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity! With the opportunity to have dinner with Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin up for grabs, as well as tickets to this year’s Aviators Ball and the chance to learn how to be a display pilot with GliderFX, it really is a raffle not to miss.

If you are a member you should have received two books of tickets in the post, either for yourself or to sell to your friends and family. If you would like any additional books of tickets to sell to work colleagues, neighbours or passers-by then please get in touch with us and we will send you a Supporters Pack.
If you are not a member and would like to buy tickets you can either do this through the website ( or by contacting the Aerobility office on 0 303 303 1230.

Want to help out?

This week, we were very pleased to welcome a group from a Guildford-based project called ‘halow’. halow was set up by a group of parents who wanted to improve the range of opportunities available to young people with learning disabilities, and they have grown considerably into a very successful and vibrant organisation.
Aerobility volunteer Debs overseeing the "Who's Model Goes Furthest?!" competition

Aerobility delivered an ‘Aviation Experience’ for six young people, with model making, simulator trips and tours of the aircraft providing a great introduction to the magic of aviation. The day was a great success and we had a lot of fun! This success was made possible by the work of our dedicated volunteers, who give up their time to instruct on the simulator, get stuck in with the model making and impart their knowledge during the aircraft tours.

Aerobility volunteer Andrea during the halow Aviation Experience
As the demand for these sessions grows, so does the demand for volunteers. We’re looking for anyone with an interest in aviation who thinks they might be able to help out for a day or two. If you would like to get involved, please contact Geri ( for more information.

Over and Out…

That’s all for now folks. Do keep in touch – send us your stories or come and have a cup of tea with us at Blackbushe!

Happy Landings

The Aerobility Team

Geri BurtonComment