Freedom in the Air (FITA) was established in 2007 and became a not-for-profit Community Interest Company in 2010. The purpose of Freedom in the Air is to make flying more accessible for young people with disabilities who would otherwise not have had the opportunity. We challenge, we educate, we give transferable skills through learning to fly. FITA enables people to fly higher socially, physically and professionally.
The exhilarating flight training rebuilds confidence and restores self-esteem. This, in turn, empowers people to explore their potential by extending their personal boundaries. In the air, we all fly at the same speed; nobody is disadvantaged or disabled.
Our collective vision is to create the opportunity for people with disabilities to experience the thrill of flying. We want to train pilots with disabilities who can emulate the unbreakable spirit of air ace Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader (RAF‘s first disabled pilot). The aim is for all disabled pilots to achieve flying solo as the commander of an aeroplane through progressive and professional instruction.
Let’s celebrate in the spirit that the Sky’s the limit.
Learning to fly is great way of sharing the fantastic experiences that you can only see and enjoy through aviation. It’s a privilege to be able to introduce a person to the freedom of flight and the boundless possibilities it offers up.
It’s about changing peoples lives, building confidence and re-igniting self belief. Flying aeroplanes makes you feel alive and gives you a sense of freedom, of being liberated from you disability with nothing to hold you back. If you can fly an aeroplane, then you can do anything, Sky’s the limit.
Disability can be categorized in the following areas; Physical |Visual |Sensory | Emotional.
There are two aircrafts available that use approved hand controls to accommodate pilots with lower limb disabilities. The PA28 Cherokee has been fitted with a Vision Air hand control and has a wide walkway, whilst the Cessna 172 has a portable bolt on Union hand control that allows us to cater for most, if not all people with disabilities.
The modification allows the rudder pedals to be operated by hands. In this way, full flying control of the aircraft is maintained.