July 25, 2013

Prize Giving: 13th July 2013

At this month's Members' Day, we were very pleased to present our annual prizes. 2012 was a fantastic year for Aerobility, with high profile events, large scale fundraisers and successful partnerships helping to provide stability and growth for the charity. There were also many personal achievements by our members, which were the result of hard work and dedication.

Below, is a list of the winners for 2012 - a huge congratulations to them all!

The Aviator Shield: awarded for most meritorious achievement by an Aerobility member

Mary Doyle
Richard Deakin presenting Mary Doyle with The Aviator Shield

The Mick Kirk Award: awarded the most supportive member of Aerobility

Simon Waterfall

Paul Winstanley collecting The Mick Kirk Award on behalf of Simon Waterfall

The Jim Parkinson Trophy: awarded to the most supportive organisation

Prospect ATCO's Branch

Chris Edwards collecting The Jim Parkinson Trophy on behalf of the Prospect ATCO's Branch

We were also very pleased to present a new award to an exceptional individual. The Outstanding Support of Aerobility Award was present to Richard Deakin, CEO of NATs for all his efforts in making the NATs and Prospect ATCO's Branch partnership with Aerobility such a success.

Richard Deakin with Aerobility Chairman Shona Bowman

A big thank you to all of those who have contributed to the ongoing success of Aerobility over the last 12 months - lets keep the good work going in 2013!

July 24, 2013

An Aerobility Update

Hello Aerobility Friends!

Wow, what a busy few weeks we’ve had here at Blackbushe Airport and across the UK! We’ve had solo flights, first time flights, simulator flights, and much more. Below is just a snippet of all the fun we’ve been having – if you would like to include your stories of aviation fun please do send us any photos and stories and we’ll include them too! You can email Geri Burton on geri@aerobility.com

The Flying…

With so much going on, it’s difficult to know where to start! I think you’ll all agree that our flying endeavours are probably the best place.

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been very pleased to send two of our students off on their first solo flights. Cliff, a Help for Heroes scholar, has been working very hard on both his flying and his ground school and all of this hard work paid off with his first solo flight from Blackbushe Airport.

A very happy Cliff!

Congratulations from Aerobility!

On the very same afternoon, Aerobility member Geoff also took to the skies all on his own for the first time. Geoff has been incredibly dedicated to his flying, spending many an hour in the simulator practising his circuits. CFI James was even more excited than usual and very proud of his successful students.

All that hard work has paid off!

Another big congratulations!

So from solo flights to first time flights, over the past couple of weeks we’ve waved off three very excited and slightly nervous friends for their trial lessons. Matthew, Justin and Stephen from the Camberley and Farnham Community Groups were part of a group that came along to an Aviation Experience back in March. Truly bitten by the Aerobility bug, they went home and resolved to save £5 a week until they had enough for their first trial flight. With the sun shining and the money saved, the only thing left to do was take to the skies!

Stephen about to take off!

Matthew receiving his certificate from James

All aboard for Justin!

These trial flights were great examples of personal determination and we were all very proud of their achievements. We had reports of speed demons and future display pilots so watch this space for their next Aerobility flight!

On a sunny day a couple of weeks ago, we finally had the weather to welcome Westgate School from Slough to Blackbushe Airport. Having been disappointed by the rain and wind last summer, the staff and students at Westgate School had been waiting an entire year for their chance to go flying. Everyone had a great day, with 10 young people taking to the skies for the first time, and we hope that this will be the beginning of a great partnership.

James giving a pre-flight briefing and introduction

Another great day was had when the charity Sportability came to visit and spend the day flying with us. Sportability’s aim is to provide sport and challenging pursuits for people with paralysis and they share our motto “If I can do this, then what else can I do?” The day was such a success that Sportability is already planning their next visit in August!

The Events…

Not only have we been busy flying but we’ve also been hosting events and attending events that others have hosted for us! The members of the Farnborough Aerospace Consortium were very generous in their support and held their Summer Charity Ball in aid of Aerobility. With friends such as Bruce Dickinson present it was certain to be a good night, and with just over £7,000 raised it turned into a great night! We’d like to thank the Farnborough Aerospace Consortium and all that supported the event for their fantastic efforts.

Not liking to be outdone, Aerobility hosted our own day of fun and games at Blackbushe Airport. The Members’ Day was a chance to say goodbye to the old BDFA, sign off the accounts and welcome Aerobility formally into existence. It was also a chance to catch up with old friends, enjoy the sunshine and take to the skies.

Aerobility member Mike with CEO Mike and the Tecnam!
The day was well attended and the BBQ was certainly a highlight, with CFI James and NATs very own Paul Winstanley and Chris Edwards ensuring we only lost a couple of burgers through the grill… With our fleet joined by Tecnam UK’s example aircraft we were also able to provide member flying throughout the afternoon.  We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who attended, and also big congratulations to the recipients of our annual awards.

NATs CEO Richard Deakin being presented an award for Outstanding Support

Richard with Mary Doyle, Aerobility's Aviators Shield winner for 2013

An incredible likeness to G-BSYY, but a bit tastier!
Last week, we were also very honoured to be invited to exhibit at the Disability Employment Conference in Westminster. This was the Launchpad for the government’s new campaign – Disability Confident. The day was very well attended, with everyone from David Cameron to Vince Cable to Sir Stelios of EasyJet taking to the stage. An interesting campaign no doubt, and the beginning of a debate which Aerobility were very pleased to be involved in.

Geri, Mike and Shona with Sir Stelios!

On the TV…

Last week, Aerobility member and Ambassador Arthur Williams demonstrated his passion for aviation in a documentary about the World War II fighter bomber the mosquito – The Plane That Saved Britain. The documentary was informative, interesting, heartfelt, and well worth watching! If you missed it on Sunday, you can still catch up by following this link - http://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-plane-that-saved-britain/4od

On The Move…

This week, we have based G-BSYY at RNAS Culdrose with Aerobility instructor Mike Owen and Aerobility member Dave Rawlins. The pair will also be accompanied by Aerobility Ambassador and GliderFX’s Guy Westgate. As we speak, the RNAS Culdrose Airshow is well under way and we are hoping to meet lots of new supporters and spread the Aerobility message further.

RNAS Culdrose have also very kindly agreed to let us base ourselves there for the next few days in order to be able to provide flying opportunities for those for whom Blackbushe is a bit too far away! We’re looking forward to flying lots of new people over the next few days and getting to know a new community.  

The 2013 Aerobility Raffle

A quick reminder for you all that the raffle will be closing on the 26th August and all tickets have to be returned to Blackbushe by that date in order to be included. Make sure you don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity! With the opportunity to have dinner with Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin up for grabs, as well as tickets to this year’s Aviators Ball and the chance to learn how to be a display pilot with GliderFX, it really is a raffle not to miss.

If you are a member you should have received two books of tickets in the post, either for yourself or to sell to your friends and family. If you would like any additional books of tickets to sell to work colleagues, neighbours or passers-by then please get in touch with us and we will send you a Supporters Pack.
If you are not a member and would like to buy tickets you can either do this through the website (http://www.aerobility.com/raffle/raffle-2013.php) or by contacting the Aerobility office on 0 303 303 1230.

Want to help out?

This week, we were very pleased to welcome a group from a Guildford-based project called ‘halow’. halow was set up by a group of parents who wanted to improve the range of opportunities available to young people with learning disabilities, and they have grown considerably into a very successful and vibrant organisation.
Aerobility volunteer Debs overseeing the "Who's Model Goes Furthest?!" competition

Aerobility delivered an ‘Aviation Experience’ for six young people, with model making, simulator trips and tours of the aircraft providing a great introduction to the magic of aviation. The day was a great success and we had a lot of fun! This success was made possible by the work of our dedicated volunteers, who give up their time to instruct on the simulator, get stuck in with the model making and impart their knowledge during the aircraft tours.

Aerobility volunteer Andrea during the halow Aviation Experience
As the demand for these sessions grows, so does the demand for volunteers. We’re looking for anyone with an interest in aviation who thinks they might be able to help out for a day or two. If you would like to get involved, please contact Geri (geri@aerobility.com) for more information.

Over and Out…

That’s all for now folks. Do keep in touch – send us your stories or come and have a cup of tea with us at Blackbushe!

Happy Landings

The Aerobility Team

July 11, 2013

Aerobility and the RAF!

Over the past couple of weeks, Aerobility has been lucky enough to spend time with both the RAF Red Arrows and the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. Aerobility has a great relationship with both the Red Arrows and the BBMF, and we were very pleased to see them both!

The Red Arrows Trust

On the 4th July our Chief Flying Instructor, James Brown, and current Help for Heroes student, Cliff, spent the day at RAF Scampton on the very kind invitation of the RAFAT Trust. They made an early start from Aerobility HQ at Blackbushe and excitedly flew our PA-28 to join the slightly bigger jets of the Red Arrows.
The Red Arrows Trust have been great supporters of Aerobility, and once again showed their commitment with a very generous donation. This support enables Aerobility to continue growing and improving, and thereforemakes a significant difference to the lives of many people. The day, which was kindly organised by Sqd Ldr Ruth Shackleton and her team, was an amazing opportunity to go behind the scenes and experience the operations of the Red Arrows on a first hand basis.  

CFI James was very happy with his call up to the Reds...

James, Aerobility CFI, said “What a great opportunity to visit the Reds at RAF Scampton! There was low cloud at Blackbushe and it looked briefly that the flight to Scampton would not go ahead but having analysed the weather we realised the cloud was a thin layer and therefore elected to go IFR to Scampton. With blue skies above us and a blanket of cloud below we could have been at 30,000ft! An airfield approach and clearance to land at Scampton was followed by being met by the Reds Manager, Sqd Ldr Ruth Schackleton and a thoroughly enjoying day including a cheque presentation, private air show and lunch with the Red Arrows pilots. Thank you very much to the RAFAT for hosting us on this wonderful day.”

The very generous contribution is much appreciated. 

We would all like to say a very big thank you to The Red Arrows Trust, to the Red Arrows and to the team at Scampton who made James and Cliff so welcome.

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

On a beautifully sunny weekend, the Aerobility and Blackbushe Airport community were thrilled to host BBMF and the Spitfire Mark XVI. Sqd Ldr Dunc Mason, who is the current OC of BBMF, landed the Spitfire and taxied over to Aerobility HQ to the delight of the waiting crowds.

The arrival of the Spitfire caused quite a stir!

 With tea and cake on offer, a Spitfire to admire and plenty of friends of Aerobility to chat to it was a great combination for a lovely weekend. Dunc and his support crew were generous with both their time and knowledge and gave friends of Aerobility the unique opportunity to have a tour from the OC. We learnt a lot about the Spitfire and Dunc kept us on our toes with a few questions at the end of the tour!

The BBMF Spitfire Mark XVI (foreground) and the Aerobillity PA-28 (background)...!

We were very sad to see the Spitfire leave on Sunday and would like to thank BBMF, particularly Sqd Ldr Dunc Mason and his team, for the opportunity to host them at Blackbushe. We hope they will come back to see us soon!

James, Mike and Roger playing at being fighter pilots!

For those who keep up to date with the blog, you will probably be keen to know who the winner of the Great Aerobility Bake Off was. First place goes to Susie Dunbar, FSDP Trustee, who’s RAF inspired creation was the best of the bunch! Special mention also to Vicky Edwards – her Aerobility themed cupcakes were a great hit on Saturday afternoon and flew off the stand. A big thank you to everyone else who baked, borrowed or bought cakes for the weekend.

It was a great weekend - lovely to see so many friendly faces!

July 09, 2013

A Very Big Welcome!

We would like to welcome the newest addition to the Aerobility HQ team. Sue is the new Office Administrator and has spent her first official day at Blackbushe today. Brian has been putting her through her paces today and we're sure she'll fit right in!

It will be Sue answering the phone from now on so feel free to introduce yourself next time you give us a call!

Best of Luck Sue - we're all looking forward to working with you!

Saturday 13th July: Aerobility Member's Meeting

Aerobility Members,

A reminder that this Saturday we are hosting a Member's Meeting at Aerobility HQ, Blackbushe. This is an important meeting as we will be presenting the Final Accounts for the BDFA, which is the only remaining formal necessity in our transition from BDFA to Aerobility.

Not only does this give you a chance to say goodbye to the BDFA, it is also an opportunity to catch up with all of the exciting news at Aerobility. We would love to have your input into the many developments that are happening.

So come along and spend an afternoon in the sun with us! If you would like to fly on the day, please do call Brian at Aerobility asap. The proceedings will begin at 12pm and we will be lighting the BBQ once we've got all of the admin out of the way!

We look forward to seeing you then!

The Aerobility Team

July 04, 2013

Only a day to go....

Only one more day until the BBMF visit to Blackbushe! Don't forget to bring your best baking efforts along (or Marks and Spencer's best baking efforts.....)

It promises to be a great weekend with lots of friends, sunshine and aeroplanes - what more could you want?!

See you there!

July 01, 2013

The Great Aerobility Bake Off!

As you may have already seen, this weekend we are very fortunate to be hosting The Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. With one of the most iconic aircraft of all time parked up next to Aerobility HQ, we want to celebrate the history of aviation in a fun and creative way. So, here is the challenge!

We would like you to test your baking skills and create an aviation themed cake, biscuit or other tasty goody. The more adventurous the better so get your thinking caps on. It could be a Spitfire shaped sponge-cake, a pilot ginger-bread man or propeller cupcakes…. These aviation masterpieces will be displayed during the afternoon, with the BBMF team deciding on their favourite. There will be prizes up for grabs for the best cakes, with extra points for creativity and taste!

Do you think you could make something like this?!

If you’re struggling to think of an aviation theme for your cake, why not just make a classic and bring that down instead? We will be offering tea and coffee with a slice of cake for a small donation to Aerobility and would appreciate lots of yummy treats to help us out. 

This one won't taste quite as good....
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch! We're looking forward to seeing you and your masterpieces on Saturday!

The Mobility Roadshow 2013

Last week, Aerobility were very pleased to exhibit at The Mobility Roadshow's 30th Anniversary Event in Telford. The roadshow was a fantastic platform on which to promote the work of Aerobility to those who may wish to participate. We were able to demonstrate to many people the opportunities available to them, with our mobile simulator giving everyone the chance to really experience what fixed-wing flying is like, and our balloon base on show to demonstrate ease of accessibility.

Our stand at The Mobility Roadshow.
Over the course of the three days we met hundreds of great people, and we had our cameras at the ready to get snaps of all of our new friends! Here's just a few of the people we had the pleasure of speaking to....

At 90, Percy Simmonds is the UK's oldest known Town Crier. He took some time out with Brian to learn more about the mechanics of our new ballooning venture.

Simon Weston, OBE, an inspirational veteran of the Falkland Island War. Simon was badly injured when the Sir Galahad was bombed during the Bluff Cove Air Attacks and has since made a significant contribution to charities supporting people living with disfigurements.

We were also very pleased to welcome The Rockabellas down to our stand. The glamorous girls were visiting the show to provide some entertainment and we think they did a great job! You can check out their website at http://www.therockabellas.com/

Another inspiration individual to visit us was Paralympic athlete Martine Wright. Martine was injured in the 7/7 bombings, but went on to compete as a sitting volleyball players at London 2012. Her amazing achievements have been recognised with the BBC Helen Rollason Award. We were very pleased to show her our mobile simulator and hope she might consider taking to the skies for her next challenge!

We had a great time and would like to thank the Mobility Roadshow team for such a great event. We'd also like to thank everyone who came to meet us - if you would like anymore information please don't hesitate to contact us on info@aerobility.com. Roll on Mobility Roadshow 2014!