Our Flyers - Mark finds the freedom of flying has brought back his ambition and drive
Mark has always been very self-reliant and ambitious. Following his mother’s death from cancer, Mark joined the Navy when he was 17 years old and over 1.5 years passed the 52 exams required to become a Navy Engineer. He was medically discharged in 2004 (aged 23 years) with severe back and neck injuries following a powerboat crash whilst in service. Mark has been in pain every day since the accident and two years ago his back gave out and he temporarily lost the use of his legs. This was a huge physical challenge for Mark who had always been very active and sporty.
Mark joined Band of Brothers (part of Help for Heroes that provide lifelong access to support and opportunities to their members) and in April 2015 was offered a trial flight at Aerobility. Mark had always wanted to fly and with support from Aerobility staff he successfully applied for funding from Help for Heroes and The Air League (who are supported in this project by Boeing) for lessons to achieve his Private Pilot’s License (PPL). At the same time Mark also started full time work as a Salesperson in a Car Dealership. Mark has now completed 16 hours of flying over 20 lessons, is about to start flying solo and aims to have achieved his PPL by September 2016. Once qualified he plans to apply to be a commercial pilot.
‘I get such a buzz from flying and have found my drive and ambition to achieve again. I am very excited about my future career and the foundations I am creating for a new life. I am getting married in June, we are buying a house in July and then planning to start a family. I am so grateful to my amazing fiancé Lucy for all her support and encouragement she has transformed my life. When I was out of work and living on benefits I felt so restricted. My world has now opened up, the freedom I feel in the air helps me manage my pain and it feels so great to be using my brain again. My flying scholarship is an opportunity I never thought I would have and I know that if I push myself I can become a commercial pilot.’