Up in the Sky –Paragliding made LimitlessBy Stefanie Holke -
Have you ever seen a wheelchair flying in the air? Well, the team of Flyability shoots them up to the sky regularly.
But don’t get me wrong – I am not talking here about some crazy people with the strange habit of finding pleasure in shooting wheelchairs at you.
Flyability is a group who has two major goals: first, to make free flights (like paragliding) accessible to everyone and secondly, to change “peoples’ perception of disability and their attitudes toward people with disabilities”. According to them, everyone can be trained to gain flyability.
The professional volunteers around Flyability – who are part of the British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (BHPA) – offer specialised free flight equipment, tandem flights, trainings and advice for people with different kinds of disabilities. Flyability even collaborated in developing, designing and testing the so-called Chevron Paragliding Wheelchair in 1997.
One of the brave ones who decided to go flying on a specialised wheelchair is Chris. On the trip with his tandem pilot he made stunningly beautiful pictures of a sunlit white horse in Dorset – from above!
Marc, another brave free flyer, decided to make his long kept dream come true and took a Hang Gliding session over Rio de Janeiro. Having a congenital bone deformity, it is difficult for Marc to grasp things very well. With the help and advice of Flyability he made contact with some highly experienced pilots who were happy to accommodate his needs. In the end, it turned out, he was so good at flying that his tandem pilot fell asleep ;)
The team of Flyability does not only offer free flights, specialised equipment and advice, as a registered charity they are also able to offer scholarships for impaired people to take tandem flights or pilot trainings.
If you feel motivated and ready to take this adventure yourself now, then it’s worth taking a look at the Flyability webpage. There you can find other success stories like Chris’ and Marc’s, links to where you can find BHPS registered schools, how to obtain one of their scholarships and, of course, Flyability’s contact information for more personal advice.
Even I would say – as a great height phobic - that a gliding trip sounds like an adventure you’ll never forget. So why not try it out?