30 Minute Accessible Flying Lesson – Blackbushe Airport, Surrey

£99.00

Do you think your disability or visual impairment will stop you from having a flying lesson? Well, think again because Ablenet are here to make your dreams a reality.

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Flying is one of the greatest expressions of freedom and our partner charity Aerobility makes it accessible to anyone with any disability. Their hand-picked flying instructors are experienced with the demands that disability can bring and in almost all cases you will have the opportunity to fly the aeroplane yourself. Nothing can beat that feeling of taking the controls of an aeroplane.

As you would expect, Civil Aviation Authority approval has been gained to provide flight training and whatever your disability, accessing the plane is a piece of cake thanks to their unique processes and hoisting facilities

Buying through Ablenet will also mean, that if needed for assistance, your carer, friend or family member can join you free-of-charge . Subject to weight and pilot’s discretion.

THE LESSON

Wear appropriate clothing – casual wear and trousers are generally best.

  • Bring warm clothing as airfields can be exposed
  • Your Instructor is the pilot-in-command (PiC) and customers must obey all their instructions
  • Do not touch, or let anyone accompanying you touch any aircraft unless authorised by the PiC
  • Keep clear of the propellers as it is possible to start an engine by accidentally leaning against or pushing a propeller
  • Smoking is not permitted at any time
  • Enter and leave the aircraft only when instructed to do so by the PiC who will make sure it is safe and will guide you where to put your hands and feet
  • In flight, do not touch any aircraft controls or switches until advised to do so. Control of the aircraft will be passed to the student under the guidance of the Instructor
  • Post flight, your Instructor will advise you the best way to continue your training.

Clearly it is beyond the scope of these pages to answer every question relating to medical conditions and gaining a PPL or NPPL.

Some symptoms are common across a range of conditions – continence issues and fatigue, for example. The effective management of these, and side effects of any medication used for symptomatic relief, can be a key factor in the enjoyment of a trial lesson. Some of the more common aviator disabilities, and their implications for flight, are briefly detailed here…

 

Paraplegia

Licensing implications: the possibility of achieving a Private Pilots Licence is excellent in most cases, although the licence will have certain restrictions applied: for instance, the licence will include details of required adaptations, and in some cases may restrict to a particular aircraft type.

Many paraplegic pilots will achieve full independence, and should not require assistance at all. Commercial licensing is also a possibility.

Most suitable aircraft types:

Piper PA28 series fitted with a hand control. Easy to get into using the ‘bum shuffle’ technique up the wing.

Cessna 172: possible to fly P1 with a Union hand control. However, this aircraft is difficult to enter from a wheelchair and would require others to check the fuel levels on top of the wings.

Others will be suitable for modification, especially those without toe brakes. Individual modifications tend to be fairly expensive.

Many microlights would seem to be very readily adapted and costs would tend to be lower.

Many microlights would seem to be very readily adapted and costs would tend to be lower.

Many gliders have hand controlled rudders, and some gliding clubs are used to disabled pilots.

 

Cerebral Palsy

Licensing implications: the possibility of achieving a Private Pilots Licence is good in many cases.

Depending on severity, use of handbrake instead of toe brakes may be necessary. Rudder hand control adaptation may be used.

Speech impediments are no barrier.

General advice:

Can often operate rudders normally but toe brakes are difficult.
Therefore more use of handbrake may be required.

Amputees

Licensing implications: the possibility of achieving a Private Pilots Licence is usually excellent, in many cases without restriction.

Some amputees may have difficulty in operating toe brakes. If this is the only type of braking system to the aircraft, then below knee amputees can operate these types of braking systems after some time spent practising taxying. Otherwise there should be no particular difficulty.

Arm or hand amputation implications vary with the degree of disability, and the sophistication of prostheses.

Non-specific back pain

Licensing implications: the possibility of achieving a Private Pilots Licence is good.

The main problem as far as the CAA is concerned is the strength of medication used to manage the pain.

Most suitable aircraft types:

The main problem is getting in and out of the aeroplane: Piper PA28s are easier than the Cessna, but fuel checking is hard because of bending down under the wings.

Polio

Licensing implications: the possibility of achieving a Private Pilots Licence is usually excellent, in many cases without restriction.

Some amputees may have difficulty in operating toe brakes. If this is the only type of braking system to the aircraft, then below knee amputees can operate these types of braking systems after some time spent practising taxying. Otherwise there should be no particular difficulty.

Arm or hand amputation implications vary with the degree of disability, and the sophistication of prostheses.

Spina Bifida

Licensing implications: the possibility of achieving a Private Pilots Licence is good, though much will depend on the severity of the disability. Restrictions may be applied. Conditions will include details of required adaptations and, in some cases, may restrict to a particular aircraft type.

General advice:

Because of the potential for urinary tract infections, kidney stones can form and this will require regular x-rays to ensure there are no stones present.

Multiple Sclerosis

As with many other conditions, MS brings widely varying degrees of disability and rates of progression, so there can be no ‘blanket’ answers. Sometimes medications taken can be an issue that prevents a valid medical. However, many people with multiple sclerosis are able to fly, and hold a PPL.

Muscular Dystrophy

Licensing implications: the possibility of achieving a Private Pilots Licence in people with mild muscular dystrophy is good. However, they may expect to be tested periodically to verify sufficient muscle strength to fly the aircraft safely.

Many people fly with muscular dystrophy, however in cases of extreme muscle weakness, where breathing support is needed or the head needs constant support, then some creative thinking is required for each flight. However, it can still be done.

Hoisting is often necessary for those with the inability to self transfer. This is no problem using Aerobility technology, however it is not possible to actually hold a licence if you need the hoist. You can still learn to fly though.

Learning difficulties

Aerobility regularly flies with people with all sorts of learning difficulties, indeed it is often where we find the most natural pilots and quick learners. Whilst many people with learning difficulties may be unable to hold a pilots licence, it is conceivable that someone with a mild condition might be able to hold an NPPL on passing the relevant written and flight tests.

Some care is advised for flying people with moderate to severe learning difficulties, and care must be taken to ensure that they understand the concept of removing their hands and feet from the controls, and that they obey the instructor. It may be worth flying new individuals for the first time in a back seat.

Deafness

There are varying degrees of deafness ranging from mild hearing loss to total deafness. Some deaf people cannot speak. Each deaf person has his or her own preferred method of communication. These include sign language, lip reading and written English. Communication techniques need to be agreed with your instructor, but there should be no barrier. You can hold a PPL without using the radio and effectively fly without radio communications.

Most suitable aircraft types:

Side by side seating for ease of communication. Electronic light systems and text communications have been used successfully in tandem seated aircraft and gliders. Other communication strategies include use of mirrors and signal sticks.

Sight loss

There are many types of sight loss with varying degrees of severity, and the chances of holding a licence vary accordingly. Conditions such as monocular vision are not necessarily a barrier. Testing and flight testing really determine capability.

Even people with complete sight loss gain much from flying, and with some verbal instruction are able to sense the aircraft altitude, and use engine and airflow noise to gauge speed.

Our partner, Aerobility, has worked extremely hard to make sure that everybody can fly, whatever their impairment.

With aircraft adaptations, hoisting techniques and other solutions available to make sure flying is fully accessible. Not everyone can go on to hold a licence, but everyone can fly as long as they can move something!

The aim is to be as inclusive as possible, providing for the whole spectrum of disability and impairment, including: mental and physical disabilities, mobility issues, learning difficulties and sensory problems, mental health issues, through to neurological disorders and amputation – and all points in between. Aerobility will probably have  come across your impairment before and will have a strategy to enable you to fly.

You will find an ‘access requirements’ on the form completed after booking – use this to let us know the degree to which your mobility is restricted: a hoist may be the most suitable way for you to access the aircraft, but If you don’t tell us, we may not have a suitable aircraft available on the day.

 

MANDATORY SAFETY RULES – PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

Your Pilot Instructor will be a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) – approved flying instructor. As well as looking after your safety, all our Instructors are keen that you should enjoy your lesson. Please note that this is not a passenger flight and will be an instructional flight.

SIZES AND WEIGHTS

The weight limit for our Piper PA28 training aircraft is 17 stones (250lbs or 115kg).

Following a discussion with the Instructor, it may be possible (at Blackbushe only) for customers over this weight to use a different training aircraft.

Customers over 6ft 4ins (193 cm) or under 5ft (152cm), or those with particular physical disabilities will notify us via the schedule form to ensure that suitable arrangements can be in place.

ALCOHOL DRUGS AND PRESCRIBED MEDICATION

It is an offence for pilots and students to fly whilst above the limit for alcohol. The legal limit for flight instruction in a light aircraft is a quarter of the drink / drive limit (i.e. not exceeding 20mg per 100ml of blood). Therefore, students should not have consumed

  • any alcohol in the 8hours pre- flight

  • more than 5 units of alcohol in the 12 hours pre-flight

  • a substantial amount of alcohol during the 24 hours pre-flight

It is also an offence to fly under the influence of drugs, or with impaired faculties caused by taking prescribed medication.

Accessible Flying Lesson

AbleNet’ mission is quite simple: we want to get more disabled people enjoying new, fun and exhilarating activities. We want to help people with disabilities feel confident that they can enjoy the same activities and life experiences as someone without a disability. We want disabled people to have access to new and cool products which look like they were made for someone with a zest for life

#LIFE WITHOUT LIMITS