A £100,000 simulator ride
The Global Flight Simulator Challenge involved a round-the-world simulator flight for the Aerobility charity.
The challenge involved pilots - many of them well-known personalities - paying to fly a leg of the continuous circumnavigation in a PA-28 simulator at Blackbushe.
The route was made up of 92 legs of about 2 hours each, although clearly some had to be longer - the Atlantic crossing took 6h 20m. Endurance was based on long-range tanks giving 10 hours in the air.
There was some variation in mountainous areas to allow flight round, rather than over, very high ground - and some legs were very short to allow VIPs a chance to take part without disturbing their busy schedules.
Our General Aviation Navigation Group's (GANG) John Cairns FRIN drew up the route (all 92 legs of it . .), with a great deal of help from Sqn Ldr Nick Benson of the RAF No1 Aeronautical Information Documents Unit, who provided charts and data for the world. The hard-working behind the scenes staff came from NATS.
A number of celebrities joined in and gave some good publicity. The longest leg was Narsarsuaq, Greenland to Keflavik, Iceland - 6h 20m flown by John Cairns himself (pictured complete with sextant - yes, he was a RAF navigator).
The continuous 10-day Challenge, which finished over the weekend, actually made £50,000 and received a further donation of £50,000 - to make the £100,000 target.
Aerobility does a wonderful job in providing flying opportunities for severely disabled pilots. The idea was to make enough money to buy the simulator for the charity and run it for at least 5 years. The 'sim' enables disabled students to get used to the aircraft and any odd devices that have to be installed to help them control the aircraft - clearly getting acclimatised this way is much cheaper than flying.
And the Challenge has not only succeeded in purchasing the simulator, but seems likely to have put the participants into the Guinness Book of Records.
We congratulate John and the rest of the team on a remarkable achievement and wish Aerobility and its students safe flying for the future.
Details from Aerobility below.