APT - Aviation for Paraplegics and Tetraplegics Charitable Trust
What our students, their families and the professionals have said about us
"When I think back to those first weeks in hospital, and it sank in that I would never again be able to move my legs and would have so little function in my arms, it would never have occurred in my wildest dreams that one day I would fly.
"I cannot begin to describe how much it means to be up there in the sky when you spend all your time in a wheelchair. To be able to control the plane, take off, climb, navigate, use the radio, descend and land gives a tremendous sense of freedom and a buzz that lasts for days. It is a different world and I feel very privileged to be part of it."
"Not only has the achievement of gaining my Private Pilot's Licence been a great personal milestone, but it has changed the attitudes of relatives, friends and many others around me. The way in which disabled people are treated often leads to great frustration, depression and a lack of self-esteem. But when it emerges that the person in a wheelchair is a qualified pilot the transformation is amazing, even amongst those I've known all my life! APT doesn't just teach people to fly - it enables them to 'stretch their wings' in their communities."
"The change in Graeme has been nothing short of remarkable - he is so contented, happy and self-motivated and flying has made this tremendous difference to his life - and it has made my life much easier too!"
Mother of Graeme Linskey
"From the moment he had a trial flight with APT, he had caught the bug! The highlight of the challenge was, for me, a flight over the New Forest - I felt humbled, privileged and thrilled to be his first passenger."
Rachel, wife of Graham Norris
"On hearing that I would never walk again I felt devastated, I thought I would never laugh again. Then one sunny day I visited APT for an hour's free trial flight. When I came back down to earth again my soul was still soaring above the clouds. What a day! Since then I have been fortunate to be offered a flying bursary by APT and am aiming to get my pilot's licence for microlites and my own life has gone forward in leaps and bounds, regaining a zest for life and a belief in myself."
"I thought you would wish to know that sadly John died on 28th February.
"We are having to adjust to the loss of not seeing him, but one of our happiest memories will be of the thrill he got from being able to say that he had flown a microlite. Thank you for this wonderful experience."
Jacky Gawne - Mother of John
"Having carried my disablement from spina bifida throughout my life, it was with considerable excitement that I started my training with APT in 1988, culminating with the granting of my Pilot's Licence in 2000.
"No one who spends any time at all at Old Sarum can fail to notice the dramatic changes that most APT trainees undergo. Within weeks of first contact there is palpable increase in self-awareness, self-confidence and 'can do' mentality. It is also sometimes forgotten that, within our limitations, we are compelled to maintain our general health to a high level so as to meet the annual medical examination required by the CAA. This is a very significant motivator for one's own health and fitness regime."
"In the 80's I aspired to a flying career, but in 1990 I was diagnosed with Multiple Scelerosis and my hopes surely gone for ever. Not quite. I learnt about APT, and was put in touch with Sean Walsh, also living in Ireland and who had gone through it all a few years earlier. In November 2000 I headed off for a week to Old Sarum. Time passed, I passed my medical by the local Medical Examiner, and I had my first lessons. I was bitten again by the aviation bug. The winter and 'foot and mouth' meant that I could not return until last May to continue. On my last visit I went solo!"
"I am writing to thank you all at the Trust for giving my son such a wonderful opportunity three years ago when he spent the whole summer with you and obtained his pilot's licence. Now he is in Australia for three months. He went by himself in his wheelchair, from the Isle of Man to Heathrow and then non-stop to Sydney. He has no fear of doing anything now and it is thanks to you for helping him and encouraging him to lead a normal and full life. You have always been there for Graham, even last summer when he was ill whilst staying at the airfield in your mobile home, and you looked after him.
"Words cannot express my gratitude. He could still be just lying at home doing nothing at all, but for your help and guidance and making my son into a courageous young man again."
Sheilagh L Cooil - Mother of Graham
"May I take this opportunity to extend my appreciation and support to APT in helping bring quality of life to patients with disability.
"Patients with spinal injury usually end up with severe disability and it calls for a great degree of enthusiasm and courage to bring back meaning to their lives. Whatever help we can give them in improving their quality of life is absolutely essential and paramount to their physical and psycho-emotional well being. I am sure patients from our centre and from others throughout the United Kingdom would benefit in participating in disabled flying."
Southport & Ormskirk Hospital
"The work that APT is involved in is extremely important for disabled people. Their involvement with activities such as aviation enables the disabled individual to experience temporary freedom from their wheelchair and disability, and this provides great psychological benefit and a feeling of general well-being and this social interaction is extremely important in itself."
The Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre
"Over the years, we have had a number of patients who have learned to fly and I have absolutely no doubt that such activities help patients rebuild their lives, both physically and psychologically. I am happy to endorse the work of APT and hope they go from strength to strength."
Princess Royal Spinal Injuries Unit
"I have examined quite a few of the disabled people who hope to be able to become private pilots, and have been struck by the joy they feel when what they perceive as a totally closed recreation becomes one they could aspire to, a fact not lost on their carers and families who often comment on the change for the better in the attitude of the disabled after they have taken up flying."
Dr. Dewi R Morgan
"Equal access to activities and leisure pursuits is extremely important for people with physical disabilities in general; more specifically people I have spoken to that participate in the adapted aircraft flying find it extremely valuable and I have no doubt that it impacts significantly on other aspects of their lives."
Spinal Injuries Unit