Whats Next

Flight training for the disabled.

On the basis of that sound piece of advice “Stick to what you are good at”, I have a new project which I am really excited about, see this link.
As you will see from my section on charity work, I have been connected with flying for the disabled for a few years now and was surprised to learn that as far as I can tell, there is only one disabled balloon pilot in the whole world, the American, Michael Glen. I met Michael some years ago and was pretty inspired by the way he overcame several major obstacles to gain his balloon pilots licence.

Then the incredible success of the Paralympic Games in London made me think that the time was right to promote ballooning as an all-inclusive sport, not just in the UK, but worldwide.

Having devised a project plan to facilitate the training of disabled balloonists, initially in the UK, then farther afield, I took it to my sponsor Breitling who generously agreed to fund a specially adapted balloon built by Cameron Balloons in Bristol.

My first student was Tim Ellison. I hesitate to refer to him as a student because Tim lost the use of his legs as a result of a crash in a Harrier jump jet, in which he was an experienced RAF pilot and instructor with over 2000 hours on this particular aircraft type.
The BBC filmed a short documentary on his training – the link is here.
With financial assistance from the Air League and in association with Help for Heroes and Aerobility, seven disabled students have received flight training since 2013.
If any disabled individual is interested in gaining a private pilot’s licence in a balloon., you will need two workable arms, reasonable eyesight and upper body strength, and a taste for adventure – legs are entirely optional!