April 19, 2018

Young fliers BA sim sessions

We are excited to announce that, once again, The Air League & Aerobility have been invited to spend an evening in the British Airways simulator on:
Wednesday 25th April 2018 between 19:45 – 23:15 hrs
There are limited places for this fantastic opportunity, if the event is oversubscribed names will be drawn at random.  Please take a moment to read through all the details below and if you’re interested in joining us please drop Gail Barkes a line gail@aerobility.com
IMPORTANT - this event is only open to young flyers aged 14 or over. 
FYI Vanguard House is in Hatton Cross, near Hounslow, participants will be expected to make their own way there. 

19:45 hrs Arrive at Vanguard House (Pass Issue) to be issued with your Security Pass.
You’ll be met here by your British Airways host: Senior First Officer Andy Perkins.
20:00 hrs Tour of the Cabin Safety Training Unit (SEP).
20:15 hrs Meet your pilots.
20:30 hrs Classroom based pre-flight briefing.
21:00 hrs Fly a full motion Boeing or Airbus flight simulator.
23:00 hrs Land!
23:15 hrs Depart British Airways Flight Training.

Safety & Security is our FIRST priority in British Airways.
British Airways Flight Training is located inside the main British Airways Engineering Base at Heathrow Airport. This is a very busy operational area. Exercise caution and observe all safety and security instructions.
Do not breach any security procedures. Do not access any restricted areas or aircraft. Do not use your pass to allow access to anyone else. Failure to abide by security procedures will result in denial of access or immediate removal from the Base and may lead to prosecution.
To gain access to British Airways Flight Training, you will first need to report to Vanguard House (Pass Issue) where you will be met by your host and be issued with your Security Pass.
You will be required to show one form of photographic identification such as your passport or UK photographic driving licence. Failure to do so will prevent a Security Pass being issued and denial of access. Your Security Pass must be worn and be visible at all times. It must be returned at the end of your visit.
Personal Health and Physical Abilities
Our Simulator flights involve a degree of physical mobility and may not be suitable for some people. Please check with us if you have any concerns.
We recommend that the following groups of people do not take part:
Ladies who are or could possibly be pregnant.
Anyone with back, joint or mobility problems.
Anyone who suffers from motion sickness.
Prior to arrival at British Airways Flight Training, no alcohol may be consumed by any visitor.
We recommend that:
Ladies wear trousers and not skirts or dresses.
Shoes with a heel no higher than about 25mm are worn.
There is a 10 minute walk from Vanguard House to the flight simulators in Technical Block A. This walk is open to the elements. Please be prepared for inclement weather and dress accordingly!
You are welcome to bring a camera along. Your mobile phone may also be used as a camera but it MUST be in FLIGHT MODE in the simulator.

April 04, 2018


Reborn Aviation, Europe’s leading remanufacturer of light aircraft, has delivered its first Reborn Warrior to Aerobility.

The Reborn Warrior is a re-manufactured PA-28 aircraft with advanced 21st century technology, equipment and safety features, coupled with new-build quality standards. The aircraft has been specifically adapted for Aerobility to enable all ranges of disabilities to fly in it. These include, adapted flying controls in addition to standard Reborn Garmin G500 glass cockpit, bespoke paintwork and interior. The aircraft, engine and avionics all come with a warranty - a unique offering within General Aviation.
The 'Reborn' Warrior

Reborn Aviation Founder Edmund Hewertson handing over the aircraft to Aerobility CEO Mike Miller-Smith,
Chairman Shona Bowman and CFI Mike Owen 

All smiles from the Aerobility team.

The two organisations have collaborated closely on this aircraft over the past six months. As a result, they have created a machine that should deliver the very best flying experiences for both pilots and passengers for many years to come. The Reborn Warrior has benefited from over fifty separate upgrades, including a Lycoming factory re-built engine, a new propeller, avionics including terrain and traffic awareness, aerodynamic fairings and 3 LED landing lights, to name but a few.

Edmund Hewertson, founder of Reborn Aviation, said: “We are very proud to be working with Aerobility and excited to see our product being put to a good use. Quality, safety and integrity are at the heart of all our aircraft - this has such great synergy with what Aerobility do. We look forward to continuing our partnership with the charity and perhaps seeing even more Reborn Warriors’ contributing to their success.”

Mike Miller-Smith MBE, CEO Aerobility, added: “The PA28 has been a key part of our aircraft operations for over 10 years, with robust and reliable performance alongside attributes which make them suitable for disabled flyers such as level access and our certified hand control. As soon as we heard about the Reborn Aviation Warrior it immediately made sense, bringing the aircraft back to better than new with the latest avionics, aerodynamic modifications and safety features. Safe, reliable, accessible and lowest cost operations are so important for the charity and we believe this aircraft will help us achieve this goal”

Deputy CFI JJ Stafrace gets the first sit!

She's looking good!

Read our flier Mark Sines' story - why gaining his LAPL was so important to him and his long journey to get here.

Since I was a small child I had always wanted to learn to fly and wanted to join the Navy as a helicopter pilot, however, due to being diagnosed with dyslexia later in life, I could not meet the grades to join the Navy, and so joined the Army instead as a soldier.

I served in the Army in Northern Ireland and in 1985, whilst on my 4th tour, I had to jump from a Lynx helicopter with full equipment. I damaged my lower spine and both knees and was airlifted back to the UK where I spent two years having further treatment at Headley Court, I was later discharged from the Army on medical grounds.

In 2010 my lower and part of my upper spine collapsed causing me to be paralysed from the waist down and after four major operations and two years learning to walk again, I am left with intermittent paralysis in both legs which can cause me to lose the power in my legs for a short period of time. 

I became very depressed and lost my job as no one at the time would employ me due to my condition. I had to give up kayaking, both sea and white water, and was told by many medical practitioners that I would never be able to fly a plane.  

Around this the time my wife found an advert for Aerobility, as she knew about my love for flight, and after a trial flight with Christine Stopher, Christine asked me why I wasn't learning to fly. 

I told her that I was told I could never fly and she told me that, apart from the take off and landing, I was flying the plane!

The rest is history as on the 26th of March I proved all those doctors wrong -that a disabled ex-soldier with spinal issues can fly and gain his pilots licence. 

It's taken two and a half years of hard work to get to this stage in my life and every time I'm up in the plane on my own, it is just me and there's nobody telling me that I cannot do this. It's a sense of freedom, and for once in my life I have control of something that does not have control of me. 

If it was not for my wife, the support of my family and the organisations who helped with funding my dream, I would not have been able to do this and achieve my childhood dream.

Finally, my goal all the way through my training has been to complete it, gain my licence and fly my wife to Bembridge on the Isle of Wight to visit her daughter who lives there with her husband as a massive thank you for all her support and most of all believing in me. 

March 28, 2018

Press Release - Aerobility receives a donation from British Aerobatics

The British Aerobatics first prize draw took place at Blackbushe Airport last Wednesday 14th March 2018. As part of its new fundraising initiative, British Aerobatics also presented a giant cheque for £1000 as a donation to the registered charity Aerobility who were hosting the event.
Chris Gazzard, Airport Manager for Blackbushe Airport, was invited by British Aerobatics to draw the winning ticket. Congratulations went to the winner who will be given a 50-minute flight experience in a two seat Spitfire (T9) provided by Boultbee Flight Academy together with an overnight stay with dinner for two at Goodwood Hotel.

During the event British Aerobatics were delighted to present the donation to Aerobility who facilitate flying training and a range of flying experiences for disabled people. Mike Miller-Smith, MBE, Chief Executive of Aerobility along with other members of his team were thrilled to receive the cheque:
“Aerobility and the services we provide are made possible thanks to the generous support of the aviation community, and the fabulous donation from British Aerobatics will enable us to genuinely change more disabled lives through the magic of flight. Aerobatic flight in particular is an expression of freedom very much like the work of Aerobility, and something of a flying passion of mine, so the association of Aerobility and British Aerobatics is very apt and we look forward to building further ties and working together introducing aerobatics to the disabled community.”

Mike started his career training as a commercial pilot before becoming disabled in his twenties. Despite developing Muscular Dystrophy, a progressive genetic neurological condition, Mike continues to fly achieving over 2,000 hours to date. He believes that flying is very much a possibility for people with a range of disabilities and that disabled flying can provide a level of challenge and exhilaration that may be difficult to find anywhere else.
British Aerobatics plans to continue donating to Aerobility as part of its initiative which aims to help develop talented British aerobatic pilots. The proceeds of the lottery will go toward British Aerobatics’ team training and support fund in preparation for European and World Championships.
“This first lottery draw has really helped in raising funds to enable our pilots to train and compete this year. We were also really pleased to be able to donate to Aerobility who are a fantastic charity,” explains Steve Todd, Chairman of British Aerobatics. “From everyone involved with British Aerobatics I would like to thank everybody who bought a ticket, our members for their support and the organisations who helped us with publicity.”
Details of the next British Aerobatic lottery draw will be available online soon. https://www.aerobatics.org.uk

March 23, 2018

Gatwick Foundation Grants

Aerobility has been lucky enough to be chosen by the fantastic Gatwick Foundation to receive a number of grants enabling anybody with a disability to take a trial flight with us. 
There is no age limit applicable, however, you must be registered as disabled and reside in the following areas:
Tandridge, Reigate & Banstead and Mole Valley.
The trial flight lasts for half an hour and will allow you to actually try your hand at flying a real aircraft.  Our facilities enable hoisting in and out of the aircraft and our aircraft have been modified to include hand controls.  
Why not try something new?  Flying is a liberating experience and can provide a huge boost in confidence.
Email gail@aerobility.com to register your interest.

February 23, 2018

It's our pleasure to introduce Stuart Rowbottom.

Stuart Rowbottom – Aerobility Special Projects Manager & Military WIS Liaison Manager 

Stuart joins the Aerobility team in March 2018. His primary role will be management of the ‘Build a Plane’ project. He will be responsible for all aspects of the project delivery, ranging from personnel and time management (ensuring that the project maintains maximum momentum by ensuring a continuous number of volunteers are actively engaged in the project), through to budget management and close liaison with the LAA and CAA inspectorate. 

As a former soldier of 23 years, Stuart’s secondary role will be to engage with the Wounded, Injured and Sick (WIS) Communities of the Armed forces with a view to engaging more service personnel with the charity. 
Stuart joins us from the Army Air Corps, where he was a serving helicopter pilot and Qualified Helicopter Instructor. During his time in the Army, he has deployed on numerous overseas operations and gained experience flying the Slingsby Firefly, AS350 (Squirrel), Apache AH64D and Lynx Mk7 & 9A. He has had the opportunity to see much of the world and also conducted an overland expedition from London to Malawi in aid of the AMECA charity. 

“I am thoroughly looking forward to joining the Aerobility team and cannot wait to get stuck in.  It will be a huge change from the Army but something I feel will be both challenging and rewarding. The ‘One Rivet At A Time’ project will require a great deal of planning and I feel the real challenge rests with keeping the build going at a continuous pace. This is something I have no doubt we can achieve as a team, especially given the talents of those people I have already met on the project so far.  
The WIS engagement role is something very close to my own heart and I look forward to enticing more service personnel into the world of flying. The military has undergone significant change over the last few years and there are a large number of personnel undergoing difficulties, whether they be post-conflict related, service-injury related or due to unexpected redundancy. If we can provide some therapeutic respite through flying or even qualify people to PPL, I think that will be a really great achievement 

Stuart lives in Basingstoke with his girlfriend Charlie and outside of work enjoys travel & adventure, gym and fitness, dining out and socialising. He is a keen wakeboarder and skier and can be found most weekends at the waterpark or researching his next overseas trip!