Aerobility, a UK aviation charity that offers disabled people, without exception, the opportunity to fly, has welcomed a new aircraft type, the Grob G109B Able.
“This updated and re-certified variant of the tried, tested and much-loved Grob G109B and its military derivative The Vigilant makes for an exciting and environmentally friendly way to take to the skies,” said Mike Miller-Smith, CEO of Aerobility.
With a complete airframe overhaul, Garmin avionics, new Rotax engine and MT Propeller, the Able’s performance and handling is enhanced, and fuel consumption is reduced.
Aerobility will operate the aircraft within its fleet, and is also marketing and selling it commercially, in collaboration with Grob Aircraft SE and Southern Sailplanes in the UK.
“Aerobility exists to change lives through the magic of flight,” said Miller-Smith. “We are very proud to present this new aircraft type, which will deliver magic to its owners whilst the proceeds will support disabled aviation. We only have a fixed amount of these aircraft to sell and we hope interest will be high.”
Project Able is a UK government-backed programme, centred on upgrading 60 former military training aircraft and repurposing them for societal use, including disabled flying.
Project Able was formally launched in 2020. Seeing an opportunity for a unique fleet type to teach more disabled people in the UK to fly, Miller-Smith proposed Aerobility could take on these aircraft, modify them working alongside aerospace partners; take eight itself and adapt them for disabled flyers. The remaining 52 it would put up for sale via the commercial market, including potentially working with an aircraft lessor on financing. The first private buyer was confirmed recently.
Miller-Smith garnered support from a wealth of supporters, led by airframer Grob Aircraft SE. Each of the overhauled and adapted airframes will help around 2,600 disabled people take to the skies yearly with Aerobility, said Miller-Smith, compared with the current 1,000 who receive training.
“Aerobility’s ambition is to inspire a new generation of Grob pilots and encourage pilot training schools, gliding clubs, aviation enthusiasts and others to seriously consider purchasing a Grob G109B Able aircraft,” said Miller-Smith.
Project Able is supported by a team of advisors and sponsors including Hayward Aviation, NATS, Grob Aircraft SE, Southern Sailplanes, the UK Civil Aviation Authority, Garmin, CFS Aero, Brinkley Aerospace, Kanardia, Airborne Composites and Saywell International. Marketing and PR partners are Leading Edge and The Emerald Network, respectively.