Sun, 17 Jun 2018
A BLIND woman from Thatcham has experienced a “trip of a lifetime” after performing a wing walk on a bi-plane.
Sharon Smith, who is severely sight-impaired, enjoyed the 12-minute flight at Rendcomb, near Cirencester, last month.
The determined 46-year-old completed the challenge in a bid to raise money for Aerobility, which offers disabled people of all ages, irrespective of their condition, the opportunity to sit in the pilot seat and fly an aeroplane.
Despite losing her sight in 2002 as a result of type one diabetes – before undergoing two pancreatic transplants – Mrs Smith took up the challenge in a bid to shatter stereotypical attitudes associated with those who are partially-sighted or blind.
Mrs Smith donned a full flying suit and was the only visually impaired person out of 11 wing walkers who took part on the day.
Mrs Smith was guided on to the plane by two professional wing walkers, before being strapped into a frame and harness.
She was then flown up to a height of approximately 1,500 feet at a speed of 120 miles an hour – an experience which the 46-year-old says she will relish forever.
Speaking after her adventure, Mrs Smith said: “Having been blind for 15 plus years, I loved every second of the wing walk.
“Flying at 120 miles an hour, my life-long dream came true.
“The flight was amazing and thrilling, I could feel every twist every turn.
“It felt like I was a bird, all on my own flying.”
To top off her experience, Mrs Smith raised £900 for Aerobility and thanked the charity for allowing her to fly through the air.
She said: “Without this amazing charity I would never have had this experience.
“It was a real trip of a lifetime and I would highly recommend it to anyone.
“Finally, I would like to thank everyone who donated to my chosen cause, Aerobility.
“Every single penny was really appreciated.”