Following on from my chat with Mike Miller-Smith of the BDFA, today I’m talking to one of the pilots that has trained with them.
Arthur Williams broke his back in a car accident in 2007 leaving him paralised from the waist down. At the time he was serving with the Royal Marines and as you could imagine, he lead a very active life.
He left the army in 2009 and decided that disability wouldn’t stop him becoming a pilot and, with the aid of the British Disabled Flying Association, that’s just what he’s been able to do. Following his trial flight he went solo after only 9 hours and since then he’s gone on to gain his National Private Pilot’s Licence.
Arthur recommends that any disabled person out there takes a trial flight with the BDFA. He says that he gained a great sense of achievement from his first flight and that the experience helps the disabled person feel much more confident about taking on other challenges in life.
Arthur still flies the BDFA PA-28 based at Lasham and is hoping to build up his hours, possibly going on to take his commercial licence and maybe even become a flying instructor with the BDFA.
He is full of praise for the BDFA, and tells us how learning to fly with them is great value, with hourly costs starting at Â£50 an hour to rent the aircraft plus another Â£20 an hour for an instructor.
Last year Arthur went along on a BDFA fly-out to Switzerland spending a week in Gruyere and he describes it as a superb gathering of disabled pilots from all over Europe.
Arthur’s story is an excellent example of what you can achieve if you put your mind to it, especially with the help of some dedicated people like those guys at the BDFA.
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Have a look on their web site and see how you can support their excellent work.