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72 Suzi Duncan Scholarships awarded click here to see the pilots..

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Course dates 2019 TBA.

HANDIFLIGHT DIsabled Pilots Around the World Flight! Aus Feb 2019

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Jodie Stanley's Story

My Wheelies with Wings scholarship started on 26 October 2003, with me on the course were Jeanette van Dongen from Jindabyne and Tony Parker who came from Taiwan. Jeanette is wheelchair bound due to an accident earlier in her life, Tony contracted Polio as a young man and I have cerebral palsy and use a wheelchair or sticks to move about.

We all stayed at Polo Flat Airfield which is in the town of Cooma in NSW's Snowy Mountains region. We met our instructor David Newling as soon as we arrived. David works for Brindabella Airlines and our aircraft was a low wing two seater fitted with a hand control.

On starting the course we learned all about parts of an aeroplane, the control systems, engine, fuel, instruments and much more. We also had to know about measurement of speed, distance, altitude, engine operation, taxiing and post flight actions. Alos included were climbing, descending and turning the aircraft, take off and landing and emergency procedures. There was much information and it was hard to remember everything.

During our training we flow over Canberra, the Snowy Mountains and down the South Coast to Merimbula and Pambula. These trips were most exciting especially when we had to take over the controls at different times.


The views was spectacular and it often took my breath away as we flew over the countryside. It was scary and exciting to learn to fly the plane. There were moments of great joy as I succeeded in a task and other times of great frustration as I could not get the pilots instructions correct. I leant to listen really well but found the aircraft engine noise a real problem because I am deaf as well as having cerebral palsy.

The aviation club organized a BBQ on the first Saturday night and also a lunch on Sunday at the complex. The Rotary Club of Cooma also provided a BBQ lunch on the final weekend when Jeanette and I were presented with our certificates for our hours of flying. Tony who was a self funded student had already had experience flying and these two weeks enabled him to receive his pilot's licence which was a wonderful achievement.

We also had some time in Cooma together. David, our instructor, had a great sense of humour and we had many laughs together. His attention to our welfare during the two weeks was quite special.

I am very thankful for the opportunity to experience this amazing program. It gave us all a chance to feel free as a bird. The scenery whilst in the plane gave us all a different perspective of the South Coast, Snowy Mountains and ACT regions and our aerial photographs are a great reminder of our Wheelies with Wings experience.

Jodie Stanley




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