Jamie faces ultimate flight test
A Leighton man, who is rebuilding his life after suffering horrific burns in a plane crash, is getting back in the cockpit to take part in an ultimate feat of endurance.
Jamie Hull, is one of seven disabled ex-servicemen who are attempting a heroic record-breaking microlight flight over the South Pole and the world’s most remote mountain peak. It is a trip of danger and adversity that has never been done by able bodied fliers and it will test the team to the limit.
The former army reservist has taken part in marathons and, last year, rode more than 3,000 miles across America on a motor cycle, all for charity. But the 37-year-old is facing his ultimate challenge by piloting a microlight over the world’s most hostile terrain. If the team succeed they will be the first to fly flexwing mircolights in Antarctica, over Mount Vinson’s 16,000ft summit and to the South Pole.
They are hoping to mount the expedition to raise funds and the profile of Flying For Freedom, partners of Help For Heroes, that is campaigning to provide self-sustaining activities and training to get veterans back into the workplace and daily life.
Once the trip is over, the aircraft will be used to train others.
Jamie hit the headlines in 2007 when a routine solo flight ended in drama as the plane burst into flames and the craft plunged to the ground.
With only a second to react the former Para climbed out onto the wing, and, with flames lapping around him, he waited until the stricken plane was 20 feet from impact and he jumped off. He has now undergone 54 harrowing operations to try and repair the appalling injuries he sustained.
But his extraordinary brush with death is now the stuff of legend which Jamie uses in motivational public speaking engagements. It has also give him a need to test his resolve with a succession of gruelling new challenges.
Flying For Freedom needs £1.2m to buy the microlights and equipment and it is looking for corporate sponsorship to make the expedition become a reality. So far funding has topped £220,000 and a big media launch is being held in London today aimed at securing further substantial funds.
Jamie, who lives in the Plantation Road area of town: “This is a huge ordeal for all of us. It’s very ambitious and I’d be lying if I didn’t say there’s no anxiety. It will impose risks on us that goes beyond conventional endeavours but you have to be in it to win it.
“It’s a legacy project that we hope will benefit other service personnel in the future. I have been involved with Help For Heroes for years and it was through them that I heard about this. We were invited for interviews and I was lucky to be selected.
“I have always wanted to go to Antarctica. I’m the sort of person who will not let what has happened to me hold me back in life. If an opportunity presents itself then I grab it with both hands.
“I’ve been up in a microlight before. Of course what happened to me is always there but you just get on with it. We will face all sorts of dangers but I’m really looking forward to it. We’re highly motivated guys who are hungry for new challenges. I’m always pushing myself. I need something to focus on to spur me on through life.”
For more information or to donate go to www.fly2pole.com
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Weather for Leighton Buzzard
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 17 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: North east