A charity dedicated to helping disabled and disadvantaged islanders experience the joy of flying has finally taken to the skies for the first time in 18 months.
With sunshine and great visibility on their side, 19 Helping Wings flights were able to take off last weekend, carrying nearly 38 islanders and their families and carers.
But the trip being the charity’s first big outing since the pandemic hit wasn’t the only reason the weekend was special – for the first time in Helping Wings’ history, fixed wing aircraft were joined by two locally-based helicopters.
Video: A Double first - the first flight of the day and the first time Helping Wings had a helicopter on the team.
All the pilots and Helping Wings team give their time free of charge, and were grateful for a visit from charity patron Lieutenant Governor Sir Stephen Dalton and Lady Dalton in the afternoon.
“We are incredibly lucky to have such a dedicated team of volunteer pilots and ground crew in our team, without whom this event would just not happen,” Helping Wings Chair Eveline Hawkin said.
“To see the smiles on people’s faces when they experience flying is so special.
“Sometimes when a guest arrives they are worried about getting into the aircraft but it is incredible to see the change in them when they get back; confident and brimming over with excitement about their experience.”
Next on the charity’s agenda is a ‘Sky and Sea Day’ with Wet Wheels in July and a Children’s Flying Day in October, subject to covid rules.
Helping Wings is also hoping to restart flying training with its Flying Scholarships Programme.
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