New flight simulators will help young people take to the skies

An innovative way to offer flying experiences to children with disabilities or facing disadvantage was officially launched on Thursday 24th March.

A partnership between Wooden Spoon Scotland, RAF Scotland, RAF Air Cadets and Tayside Aviation has paved the way for three new mobile flight simulators.

The fully accessible simulators offer youngsters with disabilities the chance to experience life in the skies while boosting their confidence and aspirations.

John Godfrey, chair of the Edinburgh committee of the Wooden Spoon rugby children’s charity, said: “We were delighted to fund these fantastic flight simulators.

“Wooden Spoon prides itself on funding life-changing projects that support children and young people with disabilities or living in disadvantage – and this is another great example of that. We would like to thank everyone who has supported this project.”

The official launch of the mobile flight simulators took place at Tayside Aviation, Dundee Airport, on Thursday 24th March with former Scotland and British & Irish Lions rugby star, Andy Nicol, officially opening the scheme.

Andy said: “One of the best things about being part of Wooden Spoon is seeing what a difference the generous fundraising can make for the young people we support.

“I can’t wait to see the flight simulators in action, along with some of the young pilots, at the launch.”

The simulators will be used in conjunction with the Flying Aces, which provide opportunities for vulnerable children to benefit from flying experiences with the aim of building their confidence and their chances in life.

Air Vice Marshal Ross Paterson said: “The three mobile flight simulators, generously funded by Wooden Spoon Scotland, are fully accessible to all and provide a realistic and fun flying simulation.

“These simulators can visit day centres, schools and events right across Scotland to offer the opportunity for as many young people as possible and they provide a great stepping-stone to actual flying experience with the Flying Aces scheme.”

Squadron Leader Tom McMorrow, Special Projects Officer for the Air Cadets in Scotland & Northern Ireland, was the innovator of the Flying Aces Scheme.

He said: “We encourage young people to think ‘If I can fly an aeroplane, is there anything in life I can’t do?’ The exercise is about getting them to control the aircraft as much as possible. “Blind and partially sighted flyers are likely to get much more out of the experience than those who do have sight.

“They ‘feel’ flight and appreciate the various gravitational and other forces acting on the aircraft that are often lost on others.”