When Nathan found out about The Endeavour Fund and Flying for Freedom, it dramatically changed the course of his life. In just five years, he has been on a journey which has seen him take his first flight, land his first job as a commercial pilot, and win the Celebrating Excellence award at the 2019 Endeavour Fund Awards.
Nathan was blown up whilst serving with the Parachute Regiment in Afghanistan. His lower limb injuries meant he had to work hard to keep his leg, which many thought would have to be amputated in order to reduce long term pain, allow normal movement and retain his quality of life. During his rehabilitation from numerous surgeries and treatments, Nathan discovered Flying for Freedom – an organisation teaching people how to fly microlights. He quickly discovered a passion and natural aptitude for flying, and soon gained his pilot’s license.
Shortly after learning to fly, Flying for Freedom nominated Nathan for a Spitfire Scholarship, run by Boultbee Flight Academy and also supported by The Endeavour Fund. Nathan was accepted onto the scholarship and was trained to fly a variety of old aircraft, including the Spitfire – the most famous fighter aircraft of World War II. Before long, Nathan was piloting the iconic aircraft solo.
In September 2015, Nathan was called up to pilot a spitfire in an historic flypast involving about 40 Spitfires and Hurricanes to commemorate the 75th anniversary of World War Two’s Battle of Britain. Aircraft from across the UK, US and Europe took off from Goodwood Aerodrome in West Sussex, then flew to airfields linked to the battle. Unfortunately just before the flight, his spitfire was grounded, but Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex gave up his seat in his Spitfire so that Nathan could still take part.
Nathan has used his endeavour experience, and his involvement with Flying for Freedom to push himself past his limits and test his flying ability on multiple occasions and in multiple locations. He has worked his way up the flying ladder, gaining his licenses for many different types of aircrafts, and now, after just five years of flying, Nathan has used his endeavour experience to catapult him into a new career as a commercial pilot, flying 737’s.
In February 2019, Nathan attended the Endeavour Fund Awards, which recognise the significant achievement of nine individuals – all members of the Armed Forces Community who were injured or fell ill in service, but have gone on to use sport and adventurous challenge as part of their recovery and rehabilitation.
At the event, Nathan won the Celebrating Excellence award – presented to the individual who has endeavoured to achieve excellence in their chosen sport or adventure challenge.
“This award really isn’t for me, it’s for everyone who has helped me along the way.” – Nathan Forster