Invacare is proud to have donated a patient lifter to assist the Auckland Gliding, Glide Freedom project. Glide Freedom's goal is to provide fun glider flying and training for the disabled, something that has never been done in New Zealand before. Greg Douglas (Project Coordinator) approached us looking for a solution to assist in transfering. His enthusiasm for the project meant we couldn't not help. The Invacare patient lifter will enable those who require assistance to transfer in and out of the specially designed glider. This is an exciting new project and we look forward to seeing how it develops as we are sure it will.
For further details:
(09) 270 2503
Greg Douglas (Project Coordinator)
(09) 575 6300
Below you will find a story about the inaugural training flight.
Click on the images to enlarge
COME GLIDING WITH ME
On Wednesday 9th December both Anita and I each went for a glider flight around the Drury area at the Auckland Gliding Club. To give you a bit of a background- the whole idea started with Greg Douglas who himself has a C6/7 incomplete spinal injury in 1966 caused by a road accident. He got into gliding soon afterwards and soloed in 1970 (40 years ago). Greg has found the gliding a very rewarding experience and the idea evolved why not offer gliding as a activity to the disabled community as is done overseas. Glider training has not been offered in New Zealand, so Greg has set up the 'Glide Freedom' program. The goal of the program is to provide fun glider flying and glider training for the disabled, and promote gliding as a sport accessible to all.
The Auckland Gliding Club (AGC) has just taken delivery of a new ASK-21 tandem cockpit glider. It is fitted out with a hand control rudder. Not cheap at around $200,000 all up which includes, instrument, trailer, and hand controlled rudder modifications done at the glider factory in Germany.
Early Wednesday afternoon I went up with their Chief Flying Instructor, Seamus Breen on my inaugural training flight for a disabled person in New Zealand. We were towed into the air with what looked like a top dressing lane around 2500ft where we released from the towrope. I am not an expert yet but I think I have the bug already.
Seamus looked for cumulus clouds, which contain hot rising air. We circled in the rising air and gained altitude to extend our flying time and keep us in the air Seamsus said he could fly to Taupo and back on a good day. After about 10 minutes in the air Seamus handed the controls over to me. He did have take over a few times but towards the end of our 40-minute flight he felt I was getting the feel of the controls. 12 to 15 hours and you could be doing it solo he stated. After my flight, it was Anita’s turn. She was for 20minutes and did not take the controls, as she was busy taking photos. They had a few guys ready to lift me in but I found the glider cockpit ledge to be not much higher than my front seat height of my chair so I just put a cushion on the side to sit on and transferred down in to the cockpit. AGC has been donated a patient lift from Invacare for those who do not have the upper body strength to get in and out by themselves. Anyone wishing to be solo pilot with any upper body limitations will have evaluated on an individual basis. The initial “Trial Flights” is $150 which includes tempory membership of the AGC. The next 3 trial flights the cost would be around $100 per hour. When you consider the cost of the glider, you have an instructor and a plane to tow you into the air, the cost is very reasonable. As with anything in life there are limitations the glider is not able to fly anyone exceeding 110kg.
Anyone wishing to train to be a glider pilot must join the AGC. The cost is $495 a year this includes instruction at no extra charge.
For further information contact the Project Coordinator Greg Douglas at (09) 575-6300 or email at email@example.com
Robert Courtney (more than happy to be the guinea pig)
Copyright © Invacare Limited 2013