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Blind pilot breaks record by flying halfway round world

Blind pilot breaks record by flying halfway round world

A blind British pilot landed his microlight aircraft in Sydney yesterday to complete a record-breaking flight halfway around the world.
Miles Hilton-Barber left London on March 7 and flew more than 21,000 kilometers to raise funds to fight blindness in developing countries.
"It's the fulfillment of an amazing dream," the 58-year-old adventurer said after touching down at Sydney's Bankstown airport. "I've been wanting to do this flight for about four years."
Hilton-Barber flies with a sighted co-pilot but relies on speech output from his navigation instruments to steer his course, directing the plane from a wireless keyboard.
"I've wanted to be a pilot since I was a kid. Now I'm totally blind and I've had the privilege of flying more than halfway around the world. The big deal is not me doing this, it's raising funds," he said.
Hilton-Barber, who has been blind for 25 years, hopes the trip will raise some US$2 million for the charity Seeing is Believing.
On his arrival in Darwin in northern Australia last week, Hilton-Barber described the sensation of flying his aircraft. "It's a very primitive form of flying but for a blind man it's wonderful because it is very sensual," he said.
"You can smell the smells coming up from the ground and I can feel the temperature, the wind, the cold."
The father of three encountered extreme weather systems during the flight, he said in Darwin. "Over the Lebanese mountains at 13,000 feet (4,000 meters) we got caught in a very bad, freaky snowstorm. We had ice all over the plane and icicles on our suits."


Updated : 2021-07-31 22:56 GMT+08:00