BGA Conference 2016

Several months ago, we were delighted to receive an invitation from the BGA to give a presentation on Deaf Pilots UK at the BGA Conference 2016.

So on Sat 27th Feb, Deaf Pilots UK went to the Nottingham Belfry, where the BGA Conference 2016 was being held.

During the day, the Deaf Pilots group had a look at the stalls present at the conference, and Joan took a moment to write her thoughts….

It was my first time at the conference. It seemed very crowded. It was hard to see all the exhibition stands.

It was nice to have a free conference T-shirt! Great to meet up with the other deaf pilots once more and to meet Byron. I thought that having an interpreter raised deaf awareness at the conference.

Amazed that one and a half gliders fitted into the exhibition space. I was quite taken by the self sustaining jet engine on the JS 1 Revelation. It was real!! I met Claudia Hill from Women Glide and she later sent me an email saying she was going to learn BSL!

Later in the day, John gave his presentation about Deaf Pilots UK to a very receptive crowd, followed by a lively question and answer session afterwards. In the near future, we hope to make the presentation available here so watch this space!

We are indebted to the following for making this possible:

John giving the presentation at the BGA conference

John speaking at the BGA conference with a slide about Henri Corderoy du Tiers behind him

Byron preparing to interpret for John Williams at the beginning of his Airspace presentation

Byron preparing to interpret John Williams at the beginning of his Airspace presentation

Dunstable October 2015

Deaf Pilots met up at London Gliding Club, Dunstable over the weekend 10th-11th October 2015.

On Saturday the sky was grey with a lot of low cloud (it didn’t help that Dunstable is 500 ft above sea level) so the club’s Robin 400 Tugs were busy towing gliders between the cloud gaps.

First to launch was Rodney and John but the cloud thickened up and we had to release at 1,000ft when we entered cloud. ¬†ūüôĀ

Rodney & John

A little while later Joan and John had an another try and we couldn’t believe our luck when a¬†lee wave cloud gap appeared over the new Dunstable bypass. ¬†Nicola our tug pilot towed us to the upwind edge of the cloud and immediately after release we found some weak wave lift. ¬†Thanks Nicola! ¬†We spent about 25 minutes beating up and down the upwind edge of the cloud and eventually had to return to the club only to find that everyone had gone for lunch. ¬†They missed the best part of the day!


After lunch Dave had a quick check flight and then went off to fly a ASK23 solo.  Rodney had his second flight and this time we succeeded in getting a bit higher.  Rodney practiced flying in the low tow position and recovering out from the lateral position.

Soon it was getting dark and time to put the gliders away in the hangar then we off we went for a pub dinner.

Sunday was much better with less cloud but visibility was still poor.

First to fly was Tim and John in the SF25C motor-glider whilst Tim tried some specially modified headsets to see if he could listen to the radio with his hearing aids.


David flew the K23 and Joan and Rodney flew the ASK 21s again. ¬†We even managed to persuade Tim’s Dad to have a flight in a glider.

Many thanks to all that came and those at London Gliding Club that made us welcome.

Deaf pilots are hoping to meet up at another museum over the winter and visit a new flying club early in 2016.

RAF Hendon

Andrew reports on the recent deaf pilots visit to the RAF Museum at RAF Hendon.

The first Deaf Pilots group’s activity for 2015.  A dull and rainy day with gusty wind.  The perfect day for sightseeing! 

On February 7th we went to visit the RAF Museum at Hendon, just off the M1. Eight of us, John, Joan and David, Yoav, Rodney, Clare, Leo and myself, turned up at the entrance at almost same time. Furthest distance from home was Rodney who lives near Manchester. Well done, Rodney!  Yoav was slightly later, having spent time looking for a free parking place.

With over 100 planes on display, we started with a visit to the Milestones of Flight, which covers the great achievements over the last 100 years from Bleriot to F-35 the VTOL jet fighter.  Clare’s son Leo, who is 7, tried a flight simulator and he found it a very realistic!  Hanging from the ceiling is a tiny single seat plane, the Mew Gull, with a very little headroom and we presumed a very little knee room.  In 1939, it broke a record for an out and return flight to South Africa. This record was stood until recently.  Bomber Hall three awesome bombers: the all-black Lancaster and a metal-polished Flying Fortress and Cold War Vulcan are displayed with several fighters, helicopters and aero engines around them.

After¬†an overpriced¬†lunch we went over to the Battle of¬†Britain¬†Hall to look at planes which took part in the battle ‚Äď Spitfire, Hurricane, Me109, Stuka, etc. ¬†In other hall is¬†an¬†evil V-1 the flying¬†bomb, of which thousands were¬†fired at London. ¬†In addition,¬†a very large V-2 the rocket¬†missile. Fortunately,¬†only a few were used as¬†it¬†was¬†developed¬†at the end of war.¬†We explored the inside¬†of¬†a huge¬†flying boat, Sunderland,¬†which was also very interesting.

Some of us went over to the World War One Hall to look at some wood and fabric biplanes. To improve her piloting skills, Joan tried her hands on a WW1 trainer. She found it was a bit like sitting in a bath tub with a broomstick!

We¬†all enjoyed the visit very much. ¬†Unfortunately,¬†Yoav’s parking space ultimately cost him more than parking in the Museum car park!¬†

RAF Hendon

Sutton Bank October 2014

Deaf Pilots visited Yorkshire Gliding Club at Sutton Bank between the 24th-26th October.

I arrived on Friday afternoon with the DG-500 to find Joan and David already flying with the CFI.  One pilot had just landed having reached 11,000 ft in wave!

This year was a smaller group than usual but we all had a great time soaring the ridge and wave.


The morning started with clear skies and 25 knots south westerly wind and we arrived at the club for the morning briefing excited by the prospect of possible wave flying.

Dave took the first flight with the CFI in the¬†DG-1000¬†and found wave meanwhile the rest of us rigged the DG-500. ¬†By the time Paul and I took a launch the sky has turned overcast and the wave had disappeared. ¬†ūüôĀ

After landing the wind direction changed and strength increased so the tugs had to be put back into the hangar.  The club changed runways and launched the gliders by winch straight into the ridge lift.

Rodney, Joan, Dave and I all enjoyed soaring flights on the ridge and in weak wave in the afternoon.


The wind was stronger, 30 knots South Westerly and the tugs were left in the hangar again.  Joan and I took the first flight and started soaring the ridge and eventually found some wave south the Moors, in which we managed to climb to 4,000 ft.  The upper cloud prevented us from climbing any higher so we keep weaving between the cloud gaps.  I wish I had taken my GoPro but what a flight!

Rodney and I took another flight after lunch but were unable to find wave so stayed local on the ridge, staying airborne for nearly 2 hours.

What another great weekend!

Many thanks to Yorkshire Gliding Club for hosting us again this year.

See video below for some flying clips.

Will flys solo

Learning to fly is something I have always dreamt of doing.  Having lost my hearing five years ago due to a rare condition (Neurofibromatosis type 2) that caused tumours to grow on my hearing nerves, it finally came a reality when I went solo 2 weeks ago.


I have been learning to fly at Bath, Wiltshire & North Dorset gliding club for nearly exactly a year. The club and my instructors have been incredibly supportive throughout. We came up with a system to communicate which we adapted and developed as we all got more experience in the air with what works and what doesn’t.

Through using a mirror in the cockpit and agreed hand gestures, thorough briefing and debriefing, I was able to follow commands and instructions while in the air.

I owe a massive thanks to the club and its members for so supportive & open minded over the last year. What really helped me was have a core group of instructors and especially having one, John Hull as a mentor. He flew with me regularly but not all the time so I also experienced other types of training. He was able to help other instructors understand how to fly with me and he really pushed my training along.

Will being congratulated by his instructor John Hall

Will being congratulated by his instructor John Hall

It was an incredible moment when the instructor said he wasn’t getting into the glider and I was now ready to go solo. Something I will never forget.