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Flyability logo, a graphic black and white image of a paraglider and hang glider with the word Flyability in front
Flyability logo
Established1996 (1996)
TypeCharitable organisation
Registration no.England and Wales: 1059197
FocusHang Gliding and Paragliding for Disabled People
Region served
United Kingdom
MethodEquipment Loans, Training Scholarships
AffiliationsBritish Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association
Staff (2017)
Volunteers (2017)

Flyability is a UK based charity that works to help disabled people fly hang gliders and paragliders. It is the disability initiative of the British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association, the governing body of hang gliding and paragliding in the UK.[2]

Schools with close links to Flyability include Airways Airsports,[3][4] EscapeXC [5] and Flying Frenzy [6]


Registered on 13 November 1996[7] by Steve Varden, John Crosbie, Pamela Hughes and Mark Hastings.[8] This followed an intensive period of organising and fundraising within the hang gliding and paragliding community.[9][10]

Flyability works closely with British Disabled Flying Association (now Aerobility).[11][4] Flyability is one of the chosen charities of Access Unlimited.[12] Generous donations from the Lakes Charity Classic event allowed Flyability to expand into offering pilot scholarships[13] with continued financial support over the years.[14]

Flyability Activities[edit]

Equipment loans[edit]

Flyability loans out specialist equipment to BHPA schools for training disabled people. This includes a range of paragliding buggies including the Flychair,[15] the Swanton, the Chevron paragliding wheelchair and the Sanderson.[16] Flyability was involved in encouraging the development of some of these buggies and has passed some of their older buggies onto disabled flying organisations in other countries. One Sanderson buggy has even got as far as New Zealand where Making Trax and Infinity Paragliding use it.[17][18]

Pilot Scholarships[edit]

Flyability offers scholarships for tandem flights and Elementary and Club Pilot training.[19]


Flyability has a presence at a number of flying events around the UK. Recent events have included Farnborough 2016[20] and Flyer Live 2016[21] on the Aerobility stands. Flyability also attended and was a beneficiary of the Richard Westgate Memorial Fly-in in 2013[22]

Flyability and Aerobility ran a combined "Try Everything!" event in June 2016 offering flights for disabled people in hang gliders, microlights and aerobatic gliders and motor gliders.[23]


Flyability and their activities are often reported in national, local and specialist press reports.


  • BBC - Flyability worked with Airways Airsports to take BBC Presenters Mike Bushell and Tony Garrett flying in a tandem hang glider to demonstrate how accessible the sport is.[24]
  • Guardian - Flyability referenced within an article introducing paragliding.[25]


  • Two pilots from Guernsey train to fly paragliders in Dorset with Flying Frenzy with help from Flyability using the Sanderson and FlyChair buggies.[26][27]


  • Skywings January 2006 - 1st Solo[28]
  • Skywings December 2016 - Buggy Boot Camp [29]
  • BHPA Elementary Pilot training guide[30]
  • A report in the Multiple Sclerosis Society magazine on a day of tandem flights for people with MS.[31]


  1. ^ "About Us". Flyability. Retrieved 13 May 2017.
  2. ^ BHPA. "BHPA Flyability Information". British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association. Retrieved 13 May 2017.
  3. ^ "Disabled Hang Gliding". Airways Airswports Flyability. Retrieved 13 May 2017.
  4. ^ a b Derwin, Steve (Autumn 2002). "The Darley Moor Project". BDFA Newsletter: 2. "Airways has been involved with 'Flyability' within the BHPA since its outset and received the 'Flyability Trophy' in 2001 from the BHPA for their efforts in supporting and promoting free flying for disabled people.
  5. ^ "Flyability Information". EscapeXC. Retrieved 13 May 2017.
  6. ^ "FAQs". Flying Frenzy. Retrieved 13 May 2017.
  7. ^ "Flyability Charity COmmission Information". Charity Commission. Retrieved 13 May 2017.
  8. ^ Flyability Charity Registration. Charity Commission. 25 January 1996. p. 13.
  9. ^ Hastings, Mark (April 1996). "Flyability News". Windsock, SHGC Magazine: 18–19.
  10. ^ Haslett, Ian (Jan–Feb 1999). "When Hell Froze Over" (PDF). Mach One. 1 (9): 6–7.
  11. ^ "Friends and Supporters". Flyability Links. Retrieved 13 May 2017.
  12. ^ "Charities". Access Unlimited. Retrieved 13 May 2017.
  13. ^ Varden, Steve (October 2009). "LCC – Not just about 'US'". Cumbria Soaring Club Newsletter. it was monies donated to Flyability from the 1996 Lakes Charity Classic that were used to conceive, begin and fund the first two historic Flyability pilot training scholarships.
  14. ^ Rawlinson, Kate (July 2012). "Dales Do "the Lakes Charity Classic"" (PDF). Skywords: 2–3. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  15. ^ "FlyChair". Flychair Paragliding buggy. Retrieved 13 May 2017.
  16. ^ "Flyability Equipment". Flyability. Retrieved 13 May 2017.
  17. ^ "The thrill-seeking tetraplegic refusing to live a boring life". 1 News Now. TV New Zealand. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  18. ^ "Our tours > Air". Making Trax. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  19. ^ "Flyability Scholarships". Flyability. Retrieved 13 May 2017.
  20. ^ "Exhibitor listing". Farnborough 2016. Retrieved 13 May 2017.
  21. ^ "Exhibitor listing". Flyer Live 2016. Retrieved 13 May 2017.
  22. ^ "Richard Westgate Memorial Fly In". Facebook Event. Retrieved 13 May 2017.
  23. ^ MIG: Leek Post and Times (June 13, 2016). "Flyability/Aerobility Disabled Flying - Try Everything!". Leek Post and Times. Retrieved 13 May 2017.[permanent dead link]
  24. ^ Bushell, Mike (8 October 2010). "Mike Bushell flies high with aerotow hang-gliding". BBC Sport. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  25. ^ Kineally, Patrick (29 September 2007). "Paragliding". Guardian. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  26. ^ "Young Wheelchair Users Try Paragliding". Guernsey Sports Commission. 24 November 2015. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  27. ^ Bolado, Catherine (29 August 2015). "Wheelchair users take to the skies thanks to a West Dorset paraglider". Dorset Echo. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  28. ^ Ransome, George (January 2006). "1st Solo" (PDF). Skywings: 44–45. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  29. ^ Ransome, George; Bellezze, Paolo (December 2016). "Buggy Boot Camp". Skywings: 38–40. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  30. ^ Schofield, Joe (2016). "Flyability" (PDF). BHPA Elementary Pilot Training Guide: 6. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  31. ^ "High Fliers" (PDF). MS Matters (111): 6. Sep–Oct 2013.

External links[edit]