Most fully-sighted people are unlikely to ever experience flying a plane, but if you have sight loss, the idea becomes absolutely impossible - or so you'd think!
Through the Flying Aces scheme, which is delivered by Tayside Aviation, three young visually impaired teenagers got the experience of a lifetime as they had the chance to pilot their own plane. The scheme encourages young disadvantaged and disabled people to experience flying and aims to develop the confidence and self-belief in young people, with the added bonus of inspiring some to start a career in the aviation industry.
For the three teenagers from the RNIB group, it was an opportunity to try something new and exciting which took them out of their comfort zones.
Cameron, who lost all of his sight three years ago at age 11, said: “it was great fun, although I couldn’t see where I was going! The pilot told me sometimes they fly blind when they fly through cloud so maybe he knew how I felt. I got involved through the RNIB Youth group where I came after I lost my sight and met Taylor who is now one of my best friends, he is also blind.”
All three appeared to thoroughly enjoy the day and the experience of taking over the controls in the air.
Daryl, aged 17 said: "it was very good, a great chance for someone like me to get a shot of flying. I was really nervous but once in the air, things kind of made sense, apart from the time the plane dropped, because so did my stomach. I love being a part of RNIB and now volunteer to help out throughout the week. The RNIB youth group is like one big family".
Paul, aged 13, added: "it was an amazing experience, and I think I did pretty well, the plane was really small, but the pilot kept me right. I feel so proud of myself, we are going to get RNIB hoodies with our surnames on the back and I would like a picture of a plane on mine".
These three teenagers weren't the first from the group to try their hand at piloting a plane; a previous group took on this challenge and were even followed by the BBC. Find out more about their experience.
Funding for the Flying Aces scheme has come from a variety of sources, including the Robertson Trust, Lord Robert Smith, Mr and Mrs Norman Murray, the Hedley Foundation, and money raised by the Grangemouth Rotary Club. The Armed Forces Covenant has also contributed funding for the scheme.
Moving forward, the Flying Aces scheme has generously offered to give all members of the RNIB Youth group over the age of 12 the opportunity to become involved with the programme and enjoy experience this wonderful activity.