#YouHaveControl Learning to fly is not just for the able-bodied or for the wealthy. As with most other sports, flying enthusiasts come from all walks of life. Flying also opens up new employment opportunities. Flying an aeroplane is empowering: people feel free, liberated from their disability with nothing to hold them back. There are no differences between disabled pilots and able-bodied pilots. In the air, everyone is equal.

Our sister organisation Freedom in the Air (FITA), in partnership with Phab, is proud to announce a Light Aircraft Pilot Licence (LAPL) scholarship to be awarded in 2014. Generous Funding for this joint programme has been provided by The Florian Charitable Trust. The aim is to support a young disabled person to realise their full potential through the pleasure and thrill of flying. The funding will be used to pay for 45 hours of dual flight instruction; 100 hours ground school, written exams, and accommodation. The scholarship will take place at FITA’s newly purpose built accessible aeroplane production facility at Birchwood in Yorkshire which also boasts residential accommodation. FITA has partnered with Modifly to create Birchwood.

Kathy Hancock, who experienced her first flying lesson during a Freedom Wings day, said “You leave the wheelchair on the ground and you just carry on…no restrictions, wow, its freedom!”

The unique aspect to Birchwood is that it has been designed and built applying concepts of Universal design so both able bodied and disabled people can work alongside each other and benefit from the set up. From making adapted aeroplanes to flying them.

The Phab Freedom Flying scholarship will be a fantastic opportunity for a young person from Phab to learn to fly in a supportive environment, and gain a qualification which will benefit them throughout their lives. Application is now open to PHAB members using the online form which can be found here: http://phab.org.uk/flying-scholarship-application-form/

Rebecca Hargreaves, National Projects Manager, Phab commented “this is a very exciting opportunity for our Phab members. I have seen at first-hand what a difference flying can make to a person’s confidence and this scholarship will not only enable someone to gain an amazing practical skill but also challenge limitations and give them a fantastic sense of achievement.”

FITA founder Gautam Lewis, who uses crutches after contracting polio as a child in India, wants to show people disability is not a barrier to achievement.

He said: “Flying aeroplanes is unique because not everyone gets the chance to. The multi faceted disciplines that are learnt through pilot training requires a lot of mental strength. You are free, you are liberated from disability. It’s very different from managing rock stars like Peter Doherty which is what I was once doing.”

“It’s trying to show what we can do regardless of disability.”

We are committed to opening horizons for people with disabilities so that they can fly higher socially, physically and professionally.

Press Enquiries, image and interview requests:

airmail@freedomintheair.org | rebecca.hargreaves@phab.org.uk

For Further Information and to learn more about disabled pilot training, visit FITA at:

Freedom in the Air on Facebook
Freedom in the Air on YouTube
Freedom in the Air on Vimeo
Freedom in the Air on Twitter

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