Gliding is a form of flying that is well-suited to those with disabilities or who have limited mobility. Several gliding clubs are equipped with modified two-seat gliders.
Not everyone involved with pilot training at clubs is familiar with how gliding can adapt to meet individual needs, which can lead to misunderstanding when a person with a disability or limited mobility wishes to learn to fly. The BGA is working with disability flying experts Aerobility to develop and deliver during the coming winter what is expected to be an interesting and engaging awareness seminar for gliding instructors. Again with Aerobility support, we aim to put in place a panel of experts who can provide specific guidance to clubs. As soon as the online seminar date(s) are available, we’ll publish them through the usual channels.
In 2019, Talan (pictured below) flew solo during a Battle Back gliding course at Wyvern GC. Talan notes;
‘Paralysed in 2003, I have spent the past sixteen years using a wheelchair to move about, Usually limited to slow speeds, only really accessing places with level or ramped access, life can be quite restricted for a paraplegic. There came an opportunity for me to attend a gliding course, where the limitation and restrictions would be removed, giving me the access to a whole new world…
..It is very difficult to put into words the feelings I experience when flying. I can say that it is an incredible sense of freedom, a sense I very rarely get in my life as a paraplegic. I am released from the restrictions of the wheelchair, I can forget about being disabled and due to the focus needed to fly I am distracted away from the neurogenic pain which plagues me.’