March 16, 2017

AEP Trip To RAF Odiham

Last Saturday the AEP group went to visit 27 Squadron at RAF Odiham.
After a very informative presentation about the role of 27 Squadron and what they get up to throughout the year the group were shown around a Chinook, inside and out.
There were 8 Chinooks in the hangar and it was a very impressive sight to see these amazing aircraft up close.  The group got to sit in the back and look in the cockpit and ask as many questions as they could!!
It was a brilliant trip and we'd like to say a very big thank you to Chris, Steve and Andy and all of 27 Squadron for hosting us and a big thank you to Alan for organising the trip.

March 14, 2017

First airline simulator flown from the wheelchair – a world first!

Guest blogger Andy Perkins, who is a great friend of Aerobility as well as being a British Airways pilot and Air League trustee reports:

"Recently we flew what we think was the first takeoff, circuit and landing in a fully functioning Airbus A320 simulator for someone in their own wheelchair! As many of you know you know, Mike Miller-Smith is the CEO of disabled flying charity Aerobility. Mike has Muscular Dystrophy. Before his disease, he was working towards his ambition of becoming a commercial airline pilot. Although Mike spends all his time going out of his way to assist others with disabilities, we felt it was time to assist him in realising one of his dreams.

Therefore with the help of British Airways – Al Bridger, Andy Clubb and James Glover’s Simulator Engineering team, we managed to get Mike into the Airbus simulator replacing the first officer seat with his wheelchair. This got Mike to within 2 inches of the controls! To start with Mike was over the moon to be that close, and happy to watch. However, we weren’t happy with that at all! So with the assistance of the fantastic engineering team at BA as well as a 1980’s British Airways coat hanger and 3 tie wraps (Yes you are reading this correctly!) Mike managed to take off, conduct a circuit and then landed unaided. Most importantly, a very happy and extremely well flown circuit was safely made by Mike.

An amazing evening and great achievement for all involved. A proud evening to be associated with such great advocates of British Airways and again showed me what fantastic people we have within the company, not to mention fulfilling a dream come true and what must be a world first – flying an airliner from the wheelchair."

March 09, 2017

AEP Flight

We had another great AEP last Saturday.  The topic was flight and the group looked at navigation.  They looked at the scale on a map and at headings on a compass.

Working in pairs they then filled out a typical pilot's log with headings, distance, speed and time.  They used a protractor and a piece of string to work out distance and time - all very technical!  It was a challenging session involving lots of maths but as always the group stepped up to the mark and managed to complete their tasks very competently.

March 08, 2017

Please help preserve the Avro Vulcan XH558

Good friend to Aerobility, Michael Trotter will soon be undertaking a sponsored run to raise funds to preserve the Avro Vulcan XH558. 

Michael has supported us in many ways over the years, for example, the provision our top raffle prize at last years Blackbushe Air Day - a VIP tour of the Vulcan with overnight accommodation!

If like us, the Vulcan has a special place in your heart, please consider supporting this worthy cause. You can find Michael's sponsorship page here.

In Michael's words, here are the details of the event... 
Avro Vulcan XH558 is too important a national heritage asset for the project to fail now. The XH558 Survival Plan Appeal has been designed to put interim funding in place to ensure the safekeeping of the aircraft and enable the survival of the Trust until a new and secure home for XH558 can be built with full public access. 

This sponsored run of 5.58km reflecting her tail number is my small personal contribution; I am hoping it will help to drive the appeal to its target and even beyond. With the kind permission of Doncaster Sheffield Airport (the old RAF Finningley), I will be running on Wednesday 22nd March actually on the airfield. 

The carefully-measured 5.58km course will take me along the runway to finish back at Hangar 1 where XH558 is safely stored. Any funds above and beyond the target will of course all be used to brighten XH558's future. I hope you will sponsor me and spread the word to your friends and colleagues - thank you in advance for all your support.
You can find Michael's sponsorship page here.

Naidex43 - 28th to 30th March

Aerobility are looking forward to this year's Naidex exhibition at NEC Birmingham.

There is still time to get your free tickets, which will include the chance to see our very own Chief Exec, Mike Miller-Smith speaking about how we make the magic of flight accessible for all and how this brings our Flyers a realisation of ability. #Naidex43

For more information and to secure your tickets, please click here.

February 21, 2017

Aviation Evening - Westland Wasp!



Aerobility HQ, Blackbushe Airport

Saturday 25th February 2017

Arrival 4pm

Dr Terry Martin will talk about the development of the Westland Wasp Helicopter, The Royal Navy's first generation jet helicopter and it's place in history, with a few stories along the way!

All Aerobility flyers/volunteers and friends welcome. This is a free event, donations gratefully received, refreshments available.

Please email to book a place or call 0303 303 1230

February 20, 2017

Aerobility are proud to work with Help for Heroes to support Veterans' Mental Health.

Help for Heroes work with more than 60 charity partners, including Aerobility, to ensure those who have suffered life-changing injuries or illness during, or as a result of their service, get the very best support for life. Throughout January, Help for Heroes are running a mental health campaign to increase awareness of the mental health support they offer and to encourage those suffering with anxiety, anger, stress and depression to take that first step in accessing support.

Please watch the campaign video here
You can find Daniel's full story here.

What is Hidden Wounds 

Help for Heroes Hidden Wounds is a psychological wellbeing service offering free and confidential support to Veterans, their families and the families of those currently serving who are struggling with anxiety, depression, anger and those wishing to change their drinking habits. Expert support is available by phone, Skype or face to face.

We "Pulled a Rivet"

This weekend Aerobility hosted a ‘Pull a Rivet’ event here at Blackbushe Airport. Patricia Mawuli Porter and Jonathan  'Yaw' Porter introduced an Aerobility group of around 40 people to the pleasure that can be had from building your own plane. Patricia and Jonathan have a similar all-inclusive ethos to Aerobility’s, so the afternoon was a great fit. All participants were able to try their hand at pulling a rivet, and using metal sheers, some of the basic skills employed in an aircraft build.

Says Operations Manager Brian Catchpoole, “Patricia and Jonathan conveyed their enthusiasm for aircraft building specifically and aviation generally with real passion. The question and answer sessions, were particularly animated. Although not necessarily our goal for the day, a number of people expressed an interest in the idea of Building a Plane, so who knows, with enough support maybe this could be an Aerobility project for the future?"

Thank you to everyone who took part - here are some of our favourite images from the day.

February 10, 2017

Exciting new fundraising event - become an Aerobility Wingwalker!

In support of Aerobility, we are looking for individuals who are committed to undertake one of the most amazing and exhilarating experiences of a lifetime!

Date: Friday 26th May, 2017
Location: RFC Rendcomb Airfield, The Whiteway, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 7DF
In partnership with: AeroSuperBatics - find the website here

For more information on how to secure your place visit

In exchange for your fundraising efforts, Aerobility will cover the cost for each of our Wingwalkers to take part. To protect this investment by our charity, we will ask each participant to kindly agree to the following important terms: 

  • Pledge to raise a minimum of £600 in support of Aerobility, to guarantee a zero cost wing walk for the participant. 
  • If you are unable to raise a minimum of £300, this will result in the participant being invoiced the sum of £300 to reimburse Aerobility for the price of the wing walk.
We will actively support you to achieve your £600 pledge with your very own dedicated webpage and fundraising portal, as well as helping to promote this incredible event. 

IMPORTANT safety requirements each Aerobility Wingwalker must meet:
  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • If over the age of 65 years old provide a doctor’s note, clearly stating the person in question is fit and able to take part in a wingwalking experience.
  • Be no taller than 6ft / 183cm.
  • Be no heavier than 13 stone / 82.5kg.
  • Have a waist measurement including layers of warm clothing and a jacket of no more than 40 inches / 102 cm.
  • Be able to climb completely unassisted up to and down from the top wing of one of our Boeing Stearman biplanes. This is a steep climb of approximately 10ft / 3m, involving a high leg lift up on to the bottom wing and another high leg lift to get over the side of the cockpit, kneeling and pulling yourself up using the various struts and wires to get on to the top wing.
  • Be able to withstand the strong wind pressures experienced while flying at speeds of up to 130mph.
  • Meet all listed health requirements stated in the application form provided. 
AeroSuperBatics have been in the display flying business for over 30 years, specialising in wingwalking since 1987 and have a 100% safety record. They also operate one of the best known and loved civilian air display acts, currently known as the Breitling Wingwalkers - a regular at airshows throughout Europe, China and the Middle East as well as displaying at events in Japan, India and even as far away as Australia.

The Wingwalking Experience
Following a full instruction and safety briefing, each Aerobility Wingwalker will be flown by one of the AeroSuperBatics wingwalking display pilots, taking to the skies on the top wing of a biplane and experience an exciting series of flypasts, zoom climbs, steep dives and banks in front of the family and friends you bring along on the day.

Each wingwalking experience lasts approximately 10 minutes.

We plan to make it a fun event for all your friends and family supporting you, and create a real party atmosphere throughout the day.

AEP Fire & Rescue

The AEP last Saturday looked at Fire and Rescue.  The group visited the Fire Station at Blackbushe where they had the chance to try on the uniform and breathing apparatus as well as looking at the fire trucks and having a go at using the hoses.  A big thank you to the team at the Fire Station.

After this they headed back to the classroom where they looked at the different types of fire possible and which specific extinguisher would be used to put it out. A very competitive game of fire triangle whist followed.

To end the session the group listened to actual footage of an incident in 2008 and watched a video of real aircraft crashes.  For some reason the group really enjoyed this!!!

February 07, 2017

Congratulations Arthur!

Our massive congratulations to Aerobility Flyer and Channel 4 presenter, Arthur Williams who has successfully achieved his night rating!

Training through December and January, it was almost impossible to avoid the heavy frost and fog, but that didn’t deter Arthur one bit.  

Congratulations once again, from everyone at Aerobility.

February 06, 2017

Aerobility ‘Pull a Rivet” Afternoon

Sunday 19th February - 13:00 in the Aerobility Hagar at Blackbushe. 

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to build your own aeroplane? Is it something you would like to do, but not sure if you have the ability or stamina, or are you simply interested in what’s involved? Would you like to participate in a build, but with no obligation or financial investment? In which case the Aerobility ‘Pull a Rivet’ afternoon at Blackbushe on Sunday 19th February at 13:00 is made for you. Bring your wife / husband, children and Grandmother all will be welcome, to attend this fully inclusive introductory session.
Patricia and Jonathan ‘Yaw’ Porter are building a Zenair CH750 plane purchased as a kit. Patricia is particularly keen to ensure that people traditionally excluded from aircraft building projects such as women, children and disabled people are given the opportunity to hear about building a kit plane and on the same day able to participate in the actual build by pulling a rivet.
To this end Patricia and Jonathan will bring with them to Blackbushe part of the fuselage and the necessary tools to enable this sub section to be completed on the day. There is no obligation to participate, perhaps you would rather just come along and get a feel for how it works? But true to Aerobility’s ethos of inclusivity, everyone who wants to try will get the opportunity, and we mean everyone.
Don’t forget the hangar has full heating, with coffee and biscuits available, so providing a comfortable environment in which to spend an enjoyable and fun Sunday afternoon, who knows you might just be hooked. But whatever else you’ll have a great time.
If this is of interest just let Brian at Operation’s know, and remember feel free to bring the family or simply yourself. An inclusive event, both able bodied and persons with an impairment equally welcome.

Brian Catchpoole

To find out more about this project please see their Website or Facebook page