View Full Version : Helicopter training for injured ex-military?
25th Jun 2012, 10:31
I'm new to this, so apologies if this has already been asked elsewhere, but I couldn't find any other information. I found out about this forum from google and thought I could get some advice from the professional pilots on here?
Has anybody heard of this : Wings for Warriors - Home (http://www.wings4warriors.org.uk/)
And they're on youtube too - search for 'wings4warriors' to see several videos.
I've come on here today to see if they're genuine? I can't find anything else out online.
They appear to be a charity for training injured ex-military to become commercial helicopter pilots. On one of the videos, there is a guy who wants to become an air ambulance pilot once he's got his licence. From their website, they say they need donations as it costs upto £80,000 to train each person. I'm assuming that they train the pilots in the little robinsons first and then train them in the bigger machines so they can get jobs?
I'm asking as my ex-army brother was medically discharged 4 years ago after a knee injury in Helmand Province and we (the whole family) have been trying to get him to do something worthwhile ever since. Adapting to life on civvy street has been a major challenge. He wants to work, he wants to do something more worthwhile than stacking shelves or driving drunks in taxis or the other dead-end jobs he's had. If he could train to be a pilot and get a flying job, that would be so much better. We live in the south west of England but my brother lives in the midlands, but that won't be a problem if he does go for the training and the family can help support him with donations and fundraising (but nowhere near the £80,000 required).
Just wondering if all this is too good to be true?
Thanks for listening.
They are indeed genuine and we are sponsoring most of their ground studies. PM me for the phone no of the guy in charge.
25th Jun 2012, 13:04
It sounds like a noble venture.
One question.....what happens after they get their License? Any support for finding them jobs?
I would hope they are fully aware of the job market, competition for jobs, and the usual difficulties low hour, freshly license pilots have in finding jobs.
I am not trying to criticize the effort.....just think it fair to ask if that is being done.
Yes, these guys are fully aware of what's going on. They are just finishing off their ppls now, but we started them off on commercial theoretical knowledge from the start*.
I should mention that these are not military pilots - mostly infantry at the moment.
*I know they need a PPL first, but they're not officially DL students until then. I just mean they are being intensively taught.
25th Jun 2012, 13:49
definately genuine, the guy in charge, M.R. Comes highly recommended from one of the CAA senior medical officers. I was talking to M.R. Last week about whether i could assist him in his efforts as i have a couple of false legs myself and it may inspire a "disabled" person if he is being taught by a "disabled" pilot. chester :ok:
25th Jun 2012, 16:23
It sounds like a very admirable cause.
I try and donate a bit to Help for Heroes when I can. But I think that the lion's share my donations are now going to go towards W4W.
How about we organise some sort of Rotorheads fund raising scheme that can go towards W4W? What about that book based on the 'Rotorheads around the World' photos? Maybe any money raised from that can go towards this cause.
I had thought of a CD full of anti-war & protest songs........
25th Jun 2012, 18:59
Great organisation, great people inspiring stories - worthy cause.
Know them well and lets hope the 'community' comes together to support Mark and his crew
27th Jun 2012, 06:09
Thanks everybody - this sounds brilliant. I have forwarded all details to my brother and the comments from this pprune forum too. Really appreciate your kind help.
27th Jun 2012, 06:33
Hello again all
After posting my other "thank you" message earlier, I came across some private messages that I didnt know I had. After reading them all, I'm having some doubts now.
I wont specify who sent me the messages or what they said specifically, but the common thread was along the lines of "its a very tough market, employers want 1000's of hours experience, mostly on turbines and especially for air ambulances/police, wanting 500/1000 hours of twin turbines and there is no way an ab-initio newly qualified pilot with 0 working hours is going to get a job, despite spending upto £80,000 on their training" and I had 2 other comments of the lines of "some people will do anything to prop up their training business and that registering as a charity and getting other people to pay for ex-soldiers training is a new one on them, they are selling a dream and the guys in training will have a rude awakening after their family, friends and miliary buddies have donated, raced and parachute jumped to raise funds to help their loved one and then be totally unemployable, whilst the training school move on to train the next batch of hopefuls"
One commentor stated that a CPL licence in the UK costs around £45-50k and wonders where the £80k quoted figure comes from?
I just dont know what to think. Would appreciate comments?
27th Jun 2012, 07:31
Can´t say anything about the price tag on a CPL/IR training course in the UK-but they are right.
HEMS services in most countries require a minimum (!) of 500 military flying hours or 1500 hours "civil" rotary experience.
Although i appreciate everything that is done FOR our "wounded warriors"-don´t forget that being a soldier in combat does not automatically move you up the long waiting list of highly experienced pilots desperately looking for a job...
27th Jun 2012, 07:45
Phil, we all support the idea, however the private messages are not being nasty, just realistic. They will not be 'unemployable', its just they will not walk into police and ambulance jobs. They will have to do what other civil pilots do, working their way up the ladder over years of 'ups and downs'.
Don't change your mind over the thank yous, actually thank them for telling you the truth. There are some thieving cynical people out there who will see pound signs. Luckily the majority are not like that, it just seems like the bad ones always seem to get involved.
Get the Douglas Bader spirit, never give up and you can prevail, just be realistic on the timeline. :ok:
PS. The quoted price for a CPL seems cheap if you include the IR.
Yes, it's a very tough market, but from where I sit, nearly half the industry will have to retire in the next 2-5 years as the industry is top heavy with senior captains. There's plenty of work around even now.
As for "some people will do anything to prop up their training business" - the charity isn't a training organisation.
As mentioned before, all the candidates are fully aware of the situation, but they have the spirit that the British Army is made of. I don't think that situation is likely to put them off.
27th Jun 2012, 14:18
Many thanks for taking an interest in 'Wings for Warriors' and the work we are doing.
I am the Director/Founder of the charity and so if there are any questions please email me direct at info@<hidden> or call me direct on 07760 154074.
I usually find it more accurate to go direct to source to quash any rhumours. That said, I thought I'd shed some light.........
I started the charity with a man, who is now a very close friend of mine named Billy Sewell. Billy was shot multiple times in Afghan, lost a leg, shattered his pelvis and lost 87 units of blood (approx ten times normal body volume).
His dream had always been to fly helicopters and so I arranged it. We then took it further before carrying on to help others.
To all the ney-sayers out there I will tell you this with 100% conviction.....SOMETIMES A DREAM IS ALL A PERSON NEEDS! Are we trying to help these guys live or just exist?
Yes jobs are tough etc etc, however a few years ago people were telling me not to bother too. I wonder if I'd have done half the amazing things I have today if I'd listened to them?!
And yes, we do network down on their behalves as we 'build them up'. One of my guys is already working as a flight instructor and the others have paid ground crew work whilst they train.
There is no legal obligation for the boys to pay anything other than donate their time and emotion. Wings pays me no wage and certainly I am not a training organisation. I am a flight instructor who is using my skills and expertise to help others, instead of feather my own nest.
If in doubt, I am also governed by trustees, which include Billy's Wife (representing family interests and fairness), a Chief Police Officer (representing moral integrity) and a senior Commando Doctor (medical interests and pyschological wellbeing).
I will continue to dedicate myself to these men and women for as long as I draw breath. Any help we can get is always appreciated and goes DIRECT to the boys, not into the Director's golfing fund (I hate golf).
Please visit www.wingsforwarriors.org.uk (http://www.wingsforwarriors.org.uk) for any more information you may require.
Alternatively, if you're still not convinced, come and talk to me in person.
Thanks for your time.
Wings for Warriors
27th Jun 2012, 14:22
I forgot to add....80k is our target figure for each student.
This will allow us to equip them with the best possible tools to place them into the market.
I.e. CPL with IR.
We are ALWAYS looking to bring this figure down and have indeed already achieved successes with the help of Caledonian Advanced Pilot Training providing ground school amongst others.
If you have any productive ideas on how we can be more cost effective we are always open to ideas.
27th Jun 2012, 14:27
Congratulations for what you are doing.....these young folks deserve all the help and assistance they can get. They justly deserve support as they have carried a heavy burden for the rest of us during very trying times.
They have certainly done us all proud by their service and the courage they demonstrate to us daily as they cope with the aftermath of their being wounded.
It is a very good thing you are doing!
27th Jun 2012, 16:13
Thank you Mark for taking the time to respond personally. I strongly agree with the comment you make about "sometimes a dream is enough" as my brother is lost. Civvy Street has not been a friendly place.
I've given him the details of your website and the link to this pprune thread.
27th Jun 2012, 20:53
If you should ever need an instructor-i would do it for free (just to pay something back, as i have been lucky enough to come out in one piece of each war the army has sent me to)........
28th Jun 2012, 08:19
Well done Mark. It is good to see that the Army spirit and support that I remember so fondly has found a worthy cause in civvy street. I wish the guys luck but I somehow think that they won't need it.
28th Jun 2012, 10:43
Mark R, you are to be commended for what you are doing - good luck to you and your colleagues.
However, I would re-iterate what a couple have already said, having spent 14yrs in the trade (Police/HEMS).
None of your 'graduates' will get a job in this industry. It is very important they grasp this. To become one of the above, pilots need a wealth of flying experience garnered over many many years and many thousands of hours. There IS NO SHORT CUT.
Provided your candidates are fully aware that this is the case - no-one will get hurt in the making of their futures.
What they should benefit from is a leg up into the industry in general. I know of a paramedic who sold his house to get started with NIL hours and got picked up by the oil industry flying offshore with a CPL(IR)[Just short of £100,000 it cost him). So it could happen.
MOST 'self helpers' end up doing FI jobs on an ad hoc basis and waiting to clock up hrs becoming more attractive to the bigger players.
Phil the drill, it is essential you brief your brother about this before he takes off down that road.
To ALL "injured" wannabee pilots - your first visit is to an AME to check out if the injury will prevent the issuing of a Class 1 medical for aviation activities in the commercial world. GOOD LUCK
28th Jun 2012, 11:52
Thank you all for your kind words of encouragement.
With luck this is something we can take ownership of as an industry and do our bit to share our unique world?!
Rest assured none of my guys are under the impression that they are going to walk into a HEMS/Police role and I appologise for whatever the source of this rumour was. One of my guys does say "One day I want to be an air ambulance pilot" in our DVD, however this is his end goal and frankly, I believe he can do it 100%.
If anyone has any industry contacts acquired during the course of your careers, we are currently looking for mentors/work experience time? Sweeping hangars, making tea or whatever needs doing, the guys learn well by osmosis and it would be much appreciated.
Meanwhile, Phil, drop me an email. We usually pay for the medicals.
28th Jun 2012, 13:04
Been interesting to follow this.... Sounds like a good thing you're doing there. I'd just like to clarify something you stated earlier, namely:
"I am not a training organisation. I am a flight instructor who is using my skills and expertise to help others"
I was under the impression that for heli flight training, it had to be conducted from a CAA authorised flight training organisation (and from a licenced airfield). If that's right, is the training you're doing legitimately recognised by the CAA and the training hours logged in the logbooks valid for when the guys are ready to take their flight test and be issued their licences?
Do they have to pass the class 1 medical before you commence any training?
Also, are you a registered charity? Your website states this in the header:
""Wings for Warriors are currently awaiting UK charity status. Our aim is to train injured service personnel as commercial pilots.">"
28th Jun 2012, 16:41
Mark, Again, this sounds a very worthy and admirable cause, yet like everything posted here will be scrutinised to the n'th. By the way, you're not Mark Radcliffe from the radio are you? ;)
My initial thought about this and the ultimate aims, apart from the training issue mentioned above, was the issue of the Class 1 Medical (http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/49/20110318InitialJARClass1E3(2188)March2011.pdf). Having had a medical temporarily suspended due to a simple knee endoscopy, I am intrigued as to how this works out.
How are the students getting on?
Surely it would be good to say that the students had graduated, especially as on the Facebook site you have 'graduates' dressed up in white shirts, ties and 4 gold bars.
Captain Alec James Robotham (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=351595738230785&set=a.330585420331817.78350.299334620123564&type=1&theater)
Captain Matthew Bryant (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=365545366835822&set=a.330585420331817.78350.299334620123564&type=3&theater)
As the website header has now been changed, do you now have charity status? There's nothing on the charity commissions website (http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/). :suspect:
All the best
28th Jun 2012, 17:53
Yes of course the training is recognised by the CAA and yes, the students have their medicals.
Wings is not a training organisation. It is a vehicle through which injured service personnel can reach their goal of becoming commercial helicopter pilots.
We are lucky enough to have the support of an FTO under who's status the students are placed. We could register ourselves independantly, however that would create overheads, which would detract from our students' spending power.
As is, the fact we have acquired our own machine enables us to ensure our not-for-profit motivation is not lost.
And yes, of course the students have their class 1 medicals. Of course not everyone will pass, however thats down to the CAA, who have thus far been excellent supporters of ours.
As our website states, our charity registration number is being processed, however we are already governed by trustees and operate for charitable purposes. Therefore we are already a charity in our own right, despite waiting for a number.
I can assure you that everything is all above board and we are 100% genuine. I started this because I was in a position to help and because I saw first hand that it makes a difference to those who need it. That really is as simple as it gets.
I appreciate our work will not appeal to everyone, however if this is the case I do politely ask that you respect our intentions and let us get on the work we're doing.
If you do support who we are and what we stand for then please help.
Many thanks again,
p.s. The pictures on our facebook page are from a photo shoot we did. The finished article features on the front of our brochures and clearly shows the transition from soldier to pilot. Please email me your details and I'll happily send copies.
29th Jun 2012, 09:56
Make sure you get the correct site chaps!
Home - Wings for Warriors (http://www.wingsforwarriors.org/)
Wings for Warriors - Home (http://www.wingsforwarriors.org.uk/)
Mark (http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/mark-radcliffe/44/40b/621) is there a problem with having the same name as another charity?
Nice to see Matt (http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/matt-sandbach/39/539/43) on board, what does a volunteer do?
29th Jun 2012, 19:37
No, there is no conflicting interest re the name and we so hold full European Trademark.
We welcome help in all shapes and sizes, be it handing out flyers at events, volunteering some ground instruction for the students, fund raising, mentoring or anything else, which you feel may bring value to helping us achieve our aim.
Please email me at info@<hidden> if you are interested.