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.  🙁

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.

Tony’s Flight at Blackbushe

Deaf pilot Joan interviewed Tony about his flying experience with Aerobility at Blackbushe aerodrome.

How did you find out about Aerobility?

I saw them at a roadshow in Wolverhampton last year. Later in 2013 I went for a flight at Blackbushe and also tried the flight simulator.

In June 2014 I made my second visit to Aerobility at Blackbushe. Unfortunately my communicator Gemma was ill. I decided to go ahead with the visit anyway.

I flew in a light aircraft. There were 3 of us me, the pilot and another man called Steve.

We flew for about half and hour. The weather was good : light wind and blue sky. I had lovely views of London area. We were not allowed to fly near Heathrow airport because we might crash into a big jet plane!

I wasn’t able to control the plane myself because my arm is too weak. Last year I was able to control a plane in the flight simulator.
The best bit was the take off. I was excited. It’s different in a small plane. We went fast and the plane wobbled as we gained height.

I hope to go fly again next year.

Dunstable May 2014

Deaf Pilots visited London Gliding Club at Dunstable Airfield during they May Bank Holiday weekend.

Here is what we got up to……


We woke to drizzle and with little chance of flying, so we spent the morning briefing deaf pilots on the conversion process from UK (BGA) to European (EASA) Sailplane Pilot Licensing.

Joan arrived and after lunch the weather brightened up, so we got a K21 out of the hangar to fly.  John, Rodney, Joan, Dave and Pete all flew and we managed 5 flights before a late afternoon heavy shower.  Unfortunately some of us got wet whilst putting the kit away!  Time for a quick beer, then out for an evening meal.


Sunday turned out to be a classic gliding day.  Blue skies dotted with Cumulus clouds.

John gave Rodney a couple of winch launch check flights before before handing him over to Pete for his Bronze Exam.

Rodney & John

Rodney & John

We took turns to fly while the rest chatted about flying.

Andrew and Mark probably talking about flying......

Andrew and Mark probably talking about flying……

John and Joan managed 40 minutes and had to resort to doing loops and chandelles to lose height.  Andrew and Yoav had the longest flight over an hour in the blue K13.

Andrew & Yoav waiting for an aerotow

Andrew & Yoav waiting for an aerotow

This weekend we were joined by a new member, Mark who is learning to fly Microlights at Kemble.  John took Mark for his first flight in a glider, and Mark remarked how smooth the glider was.

Mark & John preparing for flight

Mark & John preparing for flight

The highlight of the day was the news that Rodney passed him Bronze exam.  Well done Rodney!



Many thanks to everyone at London Gliding Club for hosting us and for Pete for taking time out of his weekend.


John and Yoav visited Blackbushe aerodrome on the 29th March 2014 and had a really positive meeting with Aerobility about how we might be able to help each other, and to make flying more accessible to deaf people.

Aerobility is an amazing flying charity and is passionate about supporting disabled people in aviation.  Deafpilots is going to help provide some advice about how deaf people fly and together we hope to raise awareness about deaf pilots.

We are looking forward to working with them.

You can read Aerobility’s blog about our visit here.



Finally, we’d like to congratulate Aerobility on the the new delivery of their Tecnam G-UCAN.