Aerobility flier, 20 year old Harvey Matthewson, was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at the age of two. As he grew up he remembers a doctor asking him what he'd like to do when he left school? Shockingly, before Harvey could even begin to answer, the doctor had corrected himself with ‘Well, it’ll obviously have to be a desk job.’
Harvey says a bad flight on a family holiday as a youngster was nearly enough to put him off air travel for good. He maintained an interest in the ‘workings’ and the ‘magic’ of aviation but really wasn’t too keen to climb onboard an aircraft.
In 2014 Harvey was lucky enough to be nominated to take part in a month long trip to Africa through a joint programme between his school and the charity JOLT. It was on this trip that he was forced to face some of his fears. He returned to the UK with a different outlook and by early 2016 he felt confident enough to book his first lesson at Aerobility.
Nevertheless he tells us: ‘I was terrified the night before the lesson and even on the taxiway but then, as soon as we took off, all my fears disappeared!’
Since that first lesson Harvey has gone on to clock up over 40 hours of flying and completed his first solo flight earlier in the year, so is now well on his way to achieving his PPL, an ambition he says that he never thought he could even dream of; ‘it just seemed so out of my reach.’
He goes on to say that even after the aircraft has landed the sense of achievement stays with him, ‘I just did something that an able bodied person can do; I’m on a par with them.’
Aerobility has given Harvey a sense of independence and confidence that he struggled to find previously, he says that charity hasn’t just taught him to fly but that it’s given him a real focus, ‘I want to get my PPL, and, unintentionally, prove that doctor wrong!’
Footnote: Harvey is now also one of our Front Desk Volunteers and assists with the day to day running of our reception and bookings area.