Sight-impaired Edinburgh youngsters take to the air on US show

Four blind and partially sighted young people from Edinburgh had a chance to experience the thrill of flying and have their adventure shown coast to coast on American television.
Four blind and partially sighted young people from Edinburgh had a chance to experience the thrill of flying and have their adventure shown coast to coast on American television.
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FOUR Edinburgh teenagers who are blind and partially sighted have experienced the thrill of flying in a light aircraft.

Daryl Stewart, 17, Daniel Sanchez, 18, Paul Albiri, 13, and Cameron Herring, 14, – who all have different degrees of sight loss – had their adventure filmed for a show to be broadcast in every US state.

Taking off from Dundee Airport, the youngsters – members of sight loss charity RNIB Scotland’s youth club – sat beside an experienced pilot in a small dual-control Piper Warrior plane used for teaching novice-flyers.

Their adventure was filmed by US television network CBS as part of a series on how different types of transport can break down barriers around the world. The programme, ‘CBS This Morning’, will be broadcast nationally in America.

The youngsters’ opportunity came thanks to Flying Aces, a scheme set up by the Royal Air Force Air Cadets, and funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund, whereby young people from disadvantaged or disabled backgrounds can experience the thrill of flight.

Jane Coates from RNIB Scotland said: “This is another wonderful opportunity thanks to flying Aces for more of our young people to try something they might otherwise have never been given the chance to do, because of their sight loss. We did this exercise in March and CBS news team in London saw the report and wanted to do a piece on it, too.”

Air Vice-Marshal Ross Paterson added: “We’re delighted to see how much all of the young people involved in our scheme not only enjoy their flying but are also really inspired to feel that they can get on and do other things too. It’s an old saying that ‘the Sky’s The Limit’ – but with the Flying Aces scheme here in Scotland, we are starting to show that it’s actually just the beginning for these young people.”

Tayside Aviation managing director, Jim Watt said: “We are delighted to be the delivery partner for the Flying Aces programme, which includes youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds. It’s great to share the excitement of taking to the skies with young people that normally would not be given that opportunity.”