Flying For Freedom (FFF) is a UK wide flying based endeavour, providing opportunities to spend a morning or afternoon flying various legs of a challenge in a microlight.
In 2015, FFF pilots flew clockwise around the UK, setting off from Kemble on 6th June, flying nearly 2000 miles in multiple legs and reaching their start point again on 16th June. The endeavour involved flying six flexwing microlights, all piloted by disabled pilots, around the UK, landing for press calls at key locations within each UK TV region.
The challenge was managed and led by Capt Luke Sinnott, Royal Engineers. Luke lost both his legs whilst serving as a search advisor in Afghanistan. Luke qualified as a microlight pilot in 2014, training in Flying for Freedom’s modified flex-wing (powered hanglider) microlights.
Microlights are open cockpit “weight shift” aircraft and are one of the easiest and cheapest ways to fly. The training provided gives air experience at its most basic; Pilots are close to nature and exposed to the elements, making for an exhilarating and adrenaline filled adventure something they most often miss when forced to end their service careers.
Feedback from those trainees involved has proven to be overwhelmingly positive, highlighting the benefits gained from the new found freedom discovered through flying…Flying for Freedom.
Those pilots involved can study towards Assistant Flying Instructor and /or Display Pilot ratings. This allows them to train future pilots in our adapted aircraft, establishing a flying legacy. Pilots can also give back charities and organisations that have helped them by giving flying displays and flight experiences in support of fund raising.
“Our post-recovery flying activities demonstrate what is possible for often severely disabled people to achieve. This can inspire those still in rehabilitation. We seek to enable recovery for our wounded, injured and sick, by supporting them through Microlight flying training”.
The Aim of the next endeavour, which took place in the summer of 2016, was to first and foremost give other WIS an opportunity to fly in an adaptive aircraft with fellow WIS as the pilots. FFF wants others to experience the excitement and understand the opportunities it opens to them. “In time, you to could train as a pilot and join FFF in future expeditions to the far corners of the earth or simply fly your friends out of a local airfield”.
Due to the huge success of FFF, we very much hope that this endeavour will be repeated and that the Endeavour Fund will continue to support into 2017. FFF is planning more Round Britain WIS engagement days and also a flying expedition to the battlefields of France.
“FFF was a 1 aircraft show for sometime until the Endeavour fund supported us with a new aircraft. With several pilots and 1 aircraft we were struggling to train pilots and mount expeditions. With the recent purchase of a third aircraft by the endeavor fund we can now deliver experience flights to more WIS and I hope allow us to train more pilots. I love flying and the endeavor fund has helped make it even more accessible…”
– Luke Sinnott