Four Surrey Choices customers celebrated on Friday at Blackbushe Airport with a certificate presentation in front of family and friends after successfully completing the silver phase of the Aerobility Aspiring Pilot Programme (APP).
Funded by Surrey Choices the course was delivered by Aerobility, a local charity that provide flying and aviation programmes for people with varying disabilities. Ashley Ruffle, Zoe Taylor, and Justin Munday, who all attend Surrey Choices’ Camberley Community Group, and Stephen Marlow, who attends its Farnham Community Group, took part in Aerobility’s first ever Aspiring Pilot Programme (Bronze) in April 2015. The Silver phase is the second milestone of the course which the group embarked on in October of this year.
The four-week course included flight training in a light aircraft and in a simulator alongside a series of classroom-based lessons on aviation-related subjects. Aerobility CEO, Mike Miller-Smith commented on how far the students have progressed since arriving at Aerobility. ‘The students have shown great development since the beginning of the Aspiring Pilots Programme. During the Silver phase they have bonded as a group, developed their basic literacy and concentration skills and increased their understanding of aviation’.
Zoe, age 40, said she had enjoyed the course so much that she now wants to complete the Gold stage of the course. During the course the students learned about communicating using the radio, and controlling the aircraft themselves which included turning, climbing and descending to land. Aerobility Service Development Coordinator, Bridie Collins added ‘We couldn’t provide this service without the help of our volunteer mentors and thank Tony, Mireille and Paul for their ongoing support. The Aspiring Pilot Programme is one of Aerobilitys most successful ground based services to date and we hope to work with Surrey Choices in the future developing the range of programmes available for people with learning disabilities.’