Joan Simpson

A chance remark- a flying challenge!

 

It all began at a barbeque party whilst talking to a friend who is a glider pilot. We were discussing gliding when I happened to say. 'How about a gliding experience for the disabled?' In a blink of an eye, out came a mobile and a call was made to the airfield, that was when I found myself talking to one of the committee members. The outcome of this conversation was that it was very feasible for anyone to fly whatever their disability (with a few exceptions). It was also then when I learnt that the gliding club were looking to do more to integrate their passion into the community. The next move was to all of the clients at Headway East Northants to see how many would be interested in taking up the challenge.

 

The date was set, weather permitting, and everyone looked forward to their challenge. Two days before the set date and the weather forecast was not good, so it was suggested that we try the day after. That morning was an ideal flying day. The lunches were packed and with some trepidation we all set off. At the airfield we were met by the staff and pilots who were to look after us for the day. A quick safety talk and other important information was given to us and then we watched a trial launch.

 

Gasps of astonishment as the plane rose steeply on the winch and at the right height, it was released. At this point there were a few anxious faces. As the first two clients were helped into their gliders everyone else looked anxiously on. At this point I wondered if any of them would dare take the challenge of actually fliying the gliders themselves. We watched take-offs and followed their progress in the clear blue sky, circling in the thermals and eventually coming to its land. Their faces said it all. 'I never thought Id be able to do something like this. I actually flew a glider. That was fantastic! I want to do it again'. Was amongst one of the comments.

 

It was certainly a high flying challenge, which many thought they would never have the chance to achieve. 

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