Charity aims to teach the disabled to fly

Fri Jul 23, 2010 9:51am EDT
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By Kyle Peterson

FARNBOROUGH, England (Reuters Life!) - The world's most terrifying war planes shred the skies over the Farnborough Airshow, performing stunts and demonstrations and delighting the throngs of aviation enthusiasts who gathered to watch.

Back on the ground, in one small corner of a cavernous exhibit hall a young man with cerebral palsy drinks in the frantic scene.

He attempts to suppress his spasms while he describes a three-hour solo flight he made last April.

"Doing it for the first time was scary," said Nathan Doidge beaming with delight.

The 30-year-old from Cornwall is confined to a wheelchair. He has brown hair, but much of it is dyed pink. He says learning to fly an airplane is difficult but thrilling.

"Every time you get a step further, it feels like 'OK, you've done that,'" he said. Doidge flies using a special, hand-operated rudder.

"I'm using the hand control less and less," he says.

He is learning to fly with assistance from a UK charity called Aerobility, whose goal is to put disabled people in the cockpit. The charity, formerly known as The British Disabled Flying Association, has an information booth at the air show.   Continued...