There are very few opportunities for disabled pilots to get together and talk flying stuff.
David McPherson from Deniliquin, a paraplegic pilot, organised a fantastic weekend on 19 – 20 March 2011, in order to get a group of like minded people together to see what can happen.
There was a great turnout – around eight planes flew in with paraplegic and diabetic pilots. I met some really amazing people – some were just getting into flying following the acquisition of their disability, and others who have flown for years, with experiences most of us would envy!
I flew up on the Friday to meet up with everyone for a BBQ and beers at the Deniliquin Aero Club.
One of the things I love about flying are some of the really peculiar/amazing sights I get to see. On the flight to Deniliquin, I flew above an inversion layer – which looks like a bubble of haze over the earth and there were these spot fires everywhere. As the smoke rose, it stopped at the top of this bubble, which made it look like an atomic bomb had gone off. It looked really cool!
On Saturday, we had a forum discussing types of hand controls people used on what aircraft and had a presentation by a CASA Doctor discussing medicals that pilots are required to have to fly general aviation aircraft. I fly a recreational aircraft so I don’t need a medical which makes it easier.
I really learnt a lot and it was great to see how everyone did their thing, with some very entertaining stories!
The best outcome was that we decided to form the Disabled Pilots Association of Australia. A web page will be set up with contacts and information for new and established pilots and will have a fly in every six months. Can’t wait!
Before we left for home on Sunday, we had a navigation competition, where we had to navigate to various points and answer some questions. Don’t ask me how I went! But it was good fun!
The people of Deniliquin were fantastic, the Aeroclub put on a BBQ lunch each day and the members of the Rotary Club transported us back and forwards to hotels, which was greatly appreciated.
Over & Out