A COTWOLDS flying club is helping a team of injured ex-servicemen and veterans prepare for an epic triple world record attempt in one of the world’s most inhospitable environments.
The British Antarctic Microlight Expedition (BAME), a team of injured and sick ex-servicemen, are training at Cotswold Airport, with the help of Kemble Flying Club in preparation for a trip to the South Pole.
The team are hoping to set world records as the first team to fly a microlight in Antarctica, the first to fly a microlight over the South Pole, and the first to fly a microlight over the continent’s highest peak, Vinson Massif, which stands at 16,067ft.
Expedition organiser John Laity said the challenge would be tough, with temperatures likely to be as low as 30 degrees below zero, but he was confident the team could achieve it.
“It was originally going to be an expedition of able-bodied servicemen but then we realised you could get an injured serviceman in the back of a microlight,” he said.
John said the team is planning a mini expedition to Sweden in 2013 to test out the equipment and is planning to set out in January 2014 to mark the 100th anniversary of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s attempt to traverse the entire Antarctic continent.
“We can only make an attempt in January because that’s the Antarctic summer,” he said.
The expedition is part of the Battle Back scheme – a Ministry of Defence programme helping the recovery of injured and sick servicemen through adventure activities.
John said: “Microlighting is a very good rehabilitation activity because it’s highly skilled and it’s got a nice adrenaline buzz.”
"Disabled is a really rubbish term to attach to them really – they’re incredibly capable and I want to challenge that perception.”
To follow the team’s progress or to donate visit fly2pole.com