13 August 2019
Source: RNIB Scotland
Four blind and partially sighted young people from Edinburgh had a chance to experience the thrill of flying on Monday, August 12th – and have their adventure shown coast to coast on American television.
Daryl Stewart (17), Daniel Sanchez (18), Paul Albiri (13) and Cameron Herring (14) – all have different degrees of sight loss.
Taking off from Dundee Airport, the youngsters – members of sight loss charity RNIB Scotland’s youth club – sat beside an experienced pilot in a small dual-control Piper Warrior plane used for teaching novice-flyers.
Their adventure was filmed by US tv network CBS as part of a series on how different types of transport can break down barriers around the world. The programme, ‘CBS This Morning’, will be broadcast nationally in all 50 states.
The youngsters’ opportunity came thanks to Flying Aces, a scheme set up by the Royal Air Force Air Cadets, and funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund, whereby young people from disadvantaged or disabled backgrounds can experience the thrill of flight.
Jane Coates from RNIB Scotland said: “This is another wonderful opportunity thanks to flying Aces for more of our young people to try something they might otherwise have never been given the chance to do, because of their sight loss. We did this exercise in March and CBS news team in London saw the report and wanted to do a piece on it, too.”
Air Vice-Marshal Ross Paterson, Air Officer Scotland, is keen to expand the scheme to include disabled and disadvantaged youngsters. “We’re delighted to see how much all of the young people involved in our scheme not only enjoy their flying but are also really inspired to feel that they can get on and do other things too,” he said.
“It’s an old saying that ‘the Sky’s The Limit’ – but with the Flying Aces scheme here in Scotland, we are starting to show that it’s actually just the beginning for these young people.”
The instructors and the planes have been provided by flight school Tayside Aviation, which is based at Dundee Airport. Jim Watt, managing director, said: “We are delighted to be the delivery partner for the Flying Aces programme, which includes youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds. It’s great to share the excitement of taking to the skies with young people that normally would not be given that opportunity.”
The aircraft operated by Tayside Aviation is a Piper PA-28 Warrior, single-engine, propeller-driven monoplane. These have four seats, so one person can do the flying in the front seat next to the instructor, with two others in the back.
For further information, please contact Ian Brown, senior communications officer for RNIB Scotland on 0131 652 3164 or 07904 904 985.