On Friday evening, Heathrow hosted a Guinness World Records® official attempt in support of Aerobility’s mission to help people with disabilities participate in aviation. The airport’s ‘Wheels4Wings’ event saw a team of 100 people in wheelchairs pull a 127.6 tonne 787-9 Boeing Dreamliner over 100 metres, beating the previous record of 67 tonnes held by a Belgian team.
- Airport hosts official attempt for heaviest aircraft to be pulled over 100 metres by a wheelchair team
- Money raised in support of charity to help people with disabilities to learn to fly
- Heathrow celebrates new training and wheelchair repatriation processes to help improve passenger journeys
Money raised from this event will go towards registered charity Aerobility’s programmes, helping people with disabilities participate in aviation. Aerobility provides ‘experience of a lifetime’ trial flying lessons for as many terminally ill and disabled people as possible. It also provides subsidised flying days for other disability charities and at-cost instruction and qualification flight training to disabled people.
Participants in today’s fundraising event included security officers, volunteers and operational staff from across Heathrow. All have benefitted from the airport’s newly established Dignity and Care training programme, focused on improving the journeys of passengers with hidden and visible disabilities.
The event today also celebrates Heathrow’s new mandatory process for airlines, which will see passengers arriving at the airport automatically reunited with their personal wheelchairs at the entrance to the aircraft, when they descend.
The Wheels4Wings event is being held during a year of rapid changes for Heathrow in which investments of £23 million were made in new equipment, resources and technology to improve service for people with disabilities. The airport also introduced innovations like a distinctive lanyard for passengers with hidden disabilities.
The airport’s regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority, acknowledged the significant steps Heathrow has taken to improve its service for people with disabilities. With further focus in the area still being applied, the airport is currently ranked ‘good’ in its services and handling offered.
Organiser of the event, Heathrow Aircraft Operations Manager Andy Knight said, “As a wheelchair uer myself, a former pilot and an aviation enthusiast, I am committed to supporting Aerobility and I am proud of the role Heathrow has taken to support its diversity and inclusion goals.”
As a wheelchair user myself, a former pilot and an aviation enthusiast, I am committed to supporting Aerobility and I am proud of the role Heathrow has taken to support its diversity and inclusion goals.
Andy Knight, Heathrow Aircraft Operations Manager
“I hope today will see the team raise a lot of funds for Aerobility’s fantastic causes, but also foster a greater awareness of the unique challenges people with disabilities face in aviation, and push for improvements for their benefit – whether they choose to be a passenger in an aircraft or at the controls.”
More about Aerobility and how to donate:
People wishing to donate to Aerobility’s mission can do so via: https://mydonate.bt.com/events/wheels4wings/476745
Aerobility offers disabled and profoundly ill people, without exception, the opportunity to fly an aeroplane, turning the dream of flying into an exhilarating reality. The charity own and manage a fleet of adapted aircraft, two flight simulators and run a variety of educational and fun ground-based activities, ensuring we have something for people of all ages, with any disability.
We’re celebrating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities and #PurpleLightUp by turning even more PURPLE! ✈️💜
— yourHeathrow (@yourHeathrow) December 3, 2018
Established in 1993, Aerobility is run largely by disabled people, for disabled people, who know flying can provide a level of challenge and exhilaration that is difficult to find anywhere else.