Two paraplegic pilots made history after their successful landing at Dubai International Airport. The two landed as part of a 9-month global Handi-flight mission to raise awareness about disabilities and people who use wheelchairs.
According to Gulf News, the team planned a five-day layover in Dubai to connect with local contacts and promote their global mission. Dubai was the sixth destination in the team’s 40-country world tour, which includes 150 staging points across six continents.
The two paraplegic pilots, Guillaume Feral and Mike Lomberg, are on a mission to help raise funds for the international NGO Humanity & Inclusion. They manned two separate airplanes and were followed by a two-member backup team from another plane. They began their 9-month world tour in Switzerland on November 8.
Flying with a disability is no longer new to French pilot Guillaume Feral, who lost his lower limbs following a spinal cord injury he suffered during a plane crash. The French pilot said that there’s nothing special about flying with a disability. The only difference, according to Feral, is that they use a special hand control device for navigating the aircraft. He says that other than that, not much else has changed.
South African Mike Lomberg was a former military engineering pilot who suffered an injury after a nearly fatal vehicle crash in 1990. Lomberg resumed flying in 2012 after a good friend invited him.
The Lions Clubs International has organized the 40-country global mission, which aims to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities as well as to raise funds for the international organization.
In addition to the Dubai airport landing, the two have also attended the Lions International’s Constitutional Area Forum event in Dubai. The event has attracted more than 3,000 delegates from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East region.
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