Our training expedition in Northern Sweden can be considered a success in many ways. Our team was almost complete for the first time. Unfortunately, one of our injured servicemen was undergoing further medical treatment so was unable to join us. As a team, we learned a lot about the aircraft and how they perform in particularly cold conditions. The coldest temperature we experienced was -17C, not as cold as Antarctica but cold enough for testing and training. Although some winter training has been completed, we still need to do more. Further training may be taking place in March/April, most likely back in Northern Sweden.
The Swedish people we met were warm, welcoming and helpful. Everywhere we went, the local people would say “hej hej” (hi hi). I don’t think I have ever been to a place where everyone acknowledges each other. It took us by surprise at first and I’m sure they don’t think much of us when we returned blank looks the first time we were acknowledged.
On our return from Sweden, several of the Flying For Freedom team were invited to Goodwood to meet one of our Royal ‘sponsors’, HRH Prince Harry. He can be seen in the attached image with (l-r), Flying For Freedom founders James Harris and John Laity, as well as one of our injured servicemen who is now a qualified Microlight pilot, Nathan Forster.
Since our return, we have been busy trying to secure further financial support, in particular for two Antarctic prepared 4 x 4 vehicles, which will be used by our mobile ground support team. Without these vehicles, it will be extremely difficult to provide the support out pilots and aircraft need. If you can help, or know someone who may be able to help, please do contact me.
(Main image HRH Prince Harry at Goodwood (courtesy of Kirk Watson), image 2 training microlight, image 3 ice runway, image 4 measuring out for tent)