19 Nov 2018

The 80,000km Handiflight adventure takes flight!

The Handiflight Around the World adventure, which aims to “explore new horizons, combat prejudices, and promote the inclusion of disabled people” while raising money for the aid organisation Humanity & Inclusion, took off from Geneva in Switzerland yesterday.

Started and ending in Switzerland, the epic, 80,000km voyage will mainly be flown by disabled pilots and will take in six continents and 40 countries, including Italy, Australia, Tonga, Canada and Belgium.

FAI Secretary General Susanne Schödel was in Geneva for Handiflight Around the World’s departure. “I am delighted to be here to witness the Handiflight Around the World project taking flight,” she said.

“As an institutional partner of the Handiflight organisation, the FAI is proud to give its full support to this exceptional project, which demonstrates that everyone can fly. We wish all the pilots and their teams happy landings around the world.”

Also present were former FAI Secretary General Max Bishop and project supporters including Solar Impulse pilots Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg.

You can track Handiflight Around the World’s progress thanks to satellite beacons that allow you to follow each plane’s position in real time.

About Handiflight Around the World

Founded in Gruyère in Switzerland in 2007, Handiflight is a bi-annual gathering of disabled pilots keen to fly in the Swiss Alps.

Over its 11-year history, it has become the biggest fly-in of disabled pilots in the world. But this is the first time the organisation has organised an around-the-world voyage of this kind.

The nine-month project will involve around 20 pilots, many of whom are paraplegic, completing stints in one of two CTLS light sport aircraft.

Baptised “Celine” and “Dreamcatcher”, these aircraft were built by the German company Flight Design and have been fitted with special hand controls to allow them to be flown without using your legs.

One of the main objectives of the adventure is to raise funds for Humanity & Inclusion, part of the charity Handicap International. “We want raise 80,000 CHF for the 80,000km of our journey,” said Daniel Ramseier, co-founder and president of Handiflight.

However, the project’s founders hope it will also “strengthen the global network of disabled aviators all around the world in collaboration with the FAI and local flying clubs”.

Photo credits: Jean Révillard; FAI