Gliding for All
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 two-seat gliders that with a hand rudder control modification.
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.’
Along with a huge amount of other supportive information, a useful guide to the impact of specific medical conditions on the ability to fly can be found on the Aerobility web site.
Clubs that have converted two-seater gliders to support disabled pilots include:
We aim to keep this list up to date but please check with individual clubs for full details and availability.
A guide for gliding instructors on flying with those with a disability can be found here.
Many deaf people have become glider pilots. There is a web site specifically for deaf pilots and potential pilots which provides information and showcases achievements.