Our Flyers - through hard work and dedication Cliff has proved to himself that he is still capable of achieving anything he set his mind to


Cliff is currently 4 months into an 18 month Commercial Helicopter Pilot training programme through Wings for Warriors (with funding from Help for Heroes and the Household Cavalry Foundation).  Cliff is also undertaking training modules to be a Commercial Fixed Wing Pilot (self-funded) as he is always looking for opportunities to do more and enhance his skills and employability.  Although his aviation career is just starting his incredible journey shows how, with determination, nothing is out of your reach if you put in the hard work and are prepared to make sacrifices.

Cliff served in the Household Cavalry including working as a driver, gunner, medic, marksman and demolitions expert.  In December 2009 Cliff was wounded in action on tour in Afghanistan: the armoured vehicle he was in was blown up and the shock waves of the explosion caused fractures to his spine, pelvis, hip & heals.  His shoulder was dislocated, his left leg shattered in ten places, his right calf completely blown off and he also had shrapnel damage.  Once stabilised and flown back to the UK Cliff had 12 operations over 10 weeks and then 3 years rehabilitation at Headley Court with a further 15 operations to try and save his legs.  During rehabilitation Cliff gradually came to the realisation that he would not be able to go back into service. 

Through the Army’s Battleback programme Cliff enjoyed a Group Aviation Experience (including a 30 minute trial flight) and an intensive week of ground school and flying lessons with Aerobility.

Following another year of surgery and rehabilitation he gained a scholarship from Help for Heroes to gain his Private’s Pilot License (PPL) which he completed through 45 lessons.  Cliff has now completed 90 hours of flying with Aerobility.

Cliff originally took on gaining his PPL as a challenge and opportunity to prove to himself that he was still capable of achieving anything he set his mind too (he had already taken up polo, triathlons and long distance swimming with similar goals).  He treated achieving his PPL as a job studying at Aerobility 9-5 every weekday for 2 months during which he passed all his exams.  But it was the flying lessons he really enjoyed. ‘I enjoyed the excitement of not knowing what was going to happen day to day – it reminded me of my time serving in the Army.  Once I achieved my PPL I knew I wanted a career in Aviation and I spent a considerable amount of time researching my options.’

His aviation career dreams had to be put on hold for 7 months for further surgery after which he passed the assessment for training to be a helicopter pilot and Cliff started his training in January 2016.

‘I know that once qualified my career may take me anywhere in the world.  Commercial training is a whole different league to gaining my PPL but without the opportunities provided to me by Aerobility I would never have been accepted onto the Commercial Helicopter Pilot Training course.  I am so grateful to my wife for her support; it is a real challenge for her as I can only come home from Aberdeen once a month’.
Eleanor Jones