Blind Veteran takes to the skies

Posted: 27/10/2017 | Scottish War Blinded

Scottish War Blinded member Gordon Mills has recounted his recent gliding adventures at Portmoak Airfield, Fife with our partner charity Walking on Air: 

On one flight, the experienced pilot, sitting behind me in the beautiful titanium white glider, quite suddenly broke our non-stop conversation as the glider appeared to be dancing atop Bishop’s Hill near Kinross, with a simple but unexpected question, “Have you ever looped the loop?”  

“Never,” I replied “Would you like to?” “When?” I  asked. “Now” he answered seriously. “You are having me on,” I stammered. 

I thought to myself that I'd wanted to loop the loop since boyhood, but I have never had the opportunity. “Like to go for it?” he asked.  As one of my early ambitions was about to become fulfilled I said, “go for it”

He did indeed go for it two minutes later when he took a sharp dive, then quickly went upwards to complete a vertical circle, then apparently – or so it appeared to me as the glider levelled off – took a sharp twist and the glider was once more on an even keel. Here I am lost for words, so I use only one – fantastic! 

Then more recently on another flight, my pilot asked if I would like to do a chandelle.   “What’s that?” I asked. After doing a chandelle manoeuvre I’m still not quite sure what it is, but it appeared to be a move to get the plane out of a deep valley by flying sideways (one wing tip pointing skywards and the other pointing to the earth). With a quick flip over, the glider was once again flying level. Perhaps next time I will give a clearer explanation.

At this point some further clarification is required to avoid my friends believing I have been hallucinating. Being 95 and blind usually impedes progress in several directions. Some peripheral vision, though useful for getting around, leaves me unable to read and until recently even to type.

However, since I became a member of Scottish War Blinded I have relearned some keyboard skills at I.T drop in classes at the Linburn Centre, and in addition to writing stories I am now able to type a simple letter.' 

So thanks to Scottish War Blinded, I am able to type this account.

At the grand age of 95, I have been able to fulfil an ambition I have had since my boyhood, due to the dedication of the skilled pilots at Walking on Air, and thanks to Scottish War Blinded's support to get veterans into the sky.  

Scottish War Blinded support veterans of all ages to achieve their goals, whether they be sporty, creative or, like Gordon's, thrilling. Give us a call on 0800 035 6409 to find out more.