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Flying for Freedom

We have hosted a team of wounded service personnel at our Warton site as they attempt to become the first disabled pilots to navigate the British coastline in a fleet of microlights.

Above the knee double amputee Captain Luke Sinnott is leading the unique challenge, ‘Round Britain Flight, which aims to demonstrate how flying creates a sense of freedom for those with physical disabilities and inspire other injured or wounded servicemen and women to learn to fly.   The team is supported by Flying for Freedom, a not for profit organisation partnered with the charity Help for Heroes.

Each microlight will carry two people and be supported by a ground team travelling by road. Warton was just one of the 20 stop-off points during the 14 day challenge.

Captain Sinnott qualified as a microlight pilot in 2014, training in Flying for Freedom’s modified flex-wing microlights. He planned the trip to highlight the importance of post-injury activities as part of a long-term recovery programme.

He said: “I lost my legs searching for IEDs in Afghanistan. Before the explosion I had been very active, playing rugby and sailing, so I needed to find something else to focus on. I had always wanted to learn to fly and Flying for Freedom gave me that opportunity.

When I fly I am free from my disability and on equal terms with able bodied pilots. Flying for Freedom is currently supporting me to become a flying instructor so I can train future disabled and able bodied people to fly.”

The route will be a true test of endurance due to the nature of the terrain the microlights will be flying over. Each pilot has overcome a life changing disability, caused by injury or sickness, to join the pilot programme funded by sponsorship through and public donations Flying for Freedom.

Flying for Freedom is partnered with Help for Heroes and supported by the Endeavour Fund, founded by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

Lt Col (Retd) James Harris, Co-Founder and Trustee for Flying for Freedom, said: “Flying for Freedom gives people a new focus after a life changing trauma or injury.  Flying is very immersive and gives individuals used to being active a challenging outlet which is not restricted by their disability.”

The Round Britain Flight will highlight the importance of sustainable post-rehabilitation activities and help raise further funding. Donations can be made in several ways. For more information visit:  http://www.flyingforfreedom.org/