Aerobility Ballooning 2014
As you will no doubt all know, Aerobility have been increasing the availability of Ballooning for its members over the last few years with a number of exploratory events, using the Breitling Academy Balloon and others kindly loaned for the events. We are now pleased to announce that Aerobility’s own Balloon is nearing the end of a modification program and should shortly be inspected and approved ready for flight.
Balloon Pilot Training
For those who wish to learn to fly Balloons, we aim to offer Pilot training to PPL(B) utilising what is known as a Duo Chariot. The Chariot is a two person gondolier suspended beneath the Balloon envelope. This has a number of advantages for aspiring pilots compared to the traditional basket including: access from the front is at the same level as many wheelchairs thus facilitating easier transfer and, all controls can be accessed from a sitting position. Add to this the amazing view that flying this combination affords, and you will appreciate this is a truly amazing experience.
To get a better idea of what is on offer take a look at this footage of Aerobility member Tim Ellison who recently became Europe’s first disabled balloon pilot. The chair Tim uses in the clip is very similar to the Aerobility Duo Chariot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Sz_uTyGTiU
If you would like to learn to fly a balloon, now is the time to let us know. We are offering training to any disabled person who can safely access the Chariot. The exact format and location of lessons has yet to be decided, but first of all we need to assess demand. So to be part of this exciting development, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Wheelchair Accessible Flights
Of course it may be that although you may want to fly a balloon, the idea of the Duo Chariot does not appeal and maybe you don’t wish to obtain a licence. For those of you perhaps looking for this slightly more passive experience, we do hope to obtain the use of a traditional wheelchair accessible basket later on in the year. We can’t promise or commit to a specific date at the moment, but again, register your interest and if and when this becomes available, we will be in touch.
Finally a message to our able bodied friends; would you consider volunteering as ground crew? This crucial work is not only great fun, but also an essential ingredient to enable our disabled members to participate and we will be offering training for those of you happy to volunteer your time and energy.