Thursday, 2 Sep 2021
Amputee flying duo hunt for sponsor
"While pilots Mike Wildeman and Alan Robinson may joke that they only have two good legs between them, they plan to put on a world class formation aerobatic display in their crowd-pleasing Yak-52 aircraft; the pair are due to make their airshow debut in 2022
Pilot travelled down to speak with Mike and Alan at their Henstridge base late in August, and experience a demonstration of their formation flying prowess. Mike has been a Virgin Atlantic Captain for twenty-five years, latterly flying the Airbus A340. Alan came to aviation through flexwing microlights and is a private pilot. Beside their obvious passion for flying, the thing they have in common is that they have each lost a leg as a consequence of a road accident.
The two men first flew together – and made a public impact – when they piloted two of the Piper PA-28 Warrior aircraft that made up ‘Bader’s Bus Company’, a formation display team funded by the Bader Foundation (which was set up in memory of WWII RAF fighter pilot and double amputee Douglas Bader). When the Bus Company’s activities came to an end, Mike and Alan sought a new venture that would involve not just close formation flying, but formation aerobatic flying.
Today, the duo are poised to make their airshow debut in 2022. However, despite Mike and Alan’s strenuous efforts to complete the programme, the Covid lockdowns have slowed their progress towards display authorisation and exhausted the Bader Foundation’s available funding. “We need £20,000 - £30,000 complete our training and display work-up,” Team Leader Mike tells Pilot.
What better cause could there be to attach a company’s name to than this talented duo, determined to show the world that disability is no bar to flying formation aerobatics at the highest level."
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