British Airways welcomed nearly 40 Help for Heroes (H4H) Band of Brother members on board its full motion flight simulators for its third annual ‘Flying Heroes’ event this week.
The airline provided nine of its 16 multi-million pound cockpit simulators, including its A380 superjumbo and 787 Dreamliner sims, for the visitors to test their skill at landings and take-offs across a range of the carrier’s near 200 global destinations.
Each simulator was hosted by one of the airline’s highly-trained pilots to make the experience even more like the real thing.
The airline launched Flying Heroes in 2014 to give the H4H injured and ill men and women the opportunity to experience a modern flight simulator and possibly even inspire them to fly. The visit this year was also supported by Aerobility – a registered charity offering people with disabilities the opportunity to fly planes.
The day also provided the H4H serving personnel and veterans the chance to learn more about the airline’s ground operation by driving an aircraft pushback tug and being shown how to operate a de-icing rig.
Peter Dunning, a BoB from Liverpool, was injured in Afghanistan in 2008 when the vehicle he was travelling in drove over an IED – he lost both his legs and his spine was fractured. Peter said: “Today has been amazing, I can’t think of a strong enough word to express how it’s been. The British Airways Captains let me fly over my house in Liverpool in the A380 simulator and afterwards we saw the real plane – I can’t believe I flew a plane that big!”
British Airways training Captain and organiser of Flying Heroes, Nigel Cemm, said: "Some things in life are definitely worth doing; Flying Heroes is undoubtedly one of them. I`m proud to say that we’ve worked with Help for Heroes for several years now, and I have many colleagues who are ex-Armed Forces. It’s great to be able to share our love of flying, and at the same time show that it’s a real possibility for everyone.”
British Airways has a long history of supporting the Armed Forces. The airline has backed the Help for Heroes charity through many projects and sporting activities. The airline built a first class cabin rest area at Tedworth House, Wiltshire, one of the charity’s Recovery Centres. The ‘cabin’ was designed to give people recovering from illness and injury a space that allows a different type of recovery environment and an alternative place to rest.