Around the world on wheelchairs and wings

On November 17, Guillaume Féral and Mike Lomberg took off from Geneva, Switzerland, for Verona, Italy, the first of 150 hops on an around-the-world adventure that will take them to six continents and 80 countries over nine months. Not unusual, such adventures. Except that the pilots are wheelchair users.Mr. Féral, 58, French but Madagascar-born, learnt to fly at 19, but at 25 crashed while learning to fly gliders, and lost the use of his legs. Mr. Lomberg, 60, a South African Air Force pilot, later a test pilot, had a vehicle accident which damaged his spinal cord. Both are hugely experienced pilots, and Mr. Féral is also a qualified instructor.They aren’t the first paraplegic pilots to solo around the world, but they will be the first in a light sport aircraft. Records don’t matter though; their mission is combating prejudice and promoting inclusion of persons with disabilities. They are raising funds for Handicap International, and the expedition is managed by Handiflight, a nonprofit focused on attracting disabled pilots from around the world to fly in Switzerland.

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