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It was love at first flight for Brandon, who started flying lessons this year in Blackpool.  From a young age, Brandon has wanted to learn how to fly an aeroplane. Now, the team at Autism Initiatives are working alongside Brandon as he attends his lessons at Air Navigation Training in Blackpool Airport.

Brandon is making great progress towards his achieving his dream of getting his pilot license. His two instructors at ANT Flight Training based at Blackpool Airport have said that he’s doing very well and is quite a natural, picking up instructions very quickly.

Brandon’s training aircraft is a Piper Cherokee and it has the call sign ‘G-UANT’ ‘GOLF- UNIFORM ALPHA NOVEMBER TANGO’.

Brandon has now had 3 lessons and has invested in air charts, check lists and official reading material that will help him towards getting his official pilot licence.

Area manager Nick Goodchild said: “I think it is amazing the work the team have done to support Brandon in achieving this goal. I think what Brandon is achieving is truly inspiring to others.”

Stephen, who is a Senior Support Worker said: “It has been a pleasure supporting Brandon with his flying lessons, not only because he has wanted to do them for such a long time (over 10 years), but because staff have noticed an improvement in Brandon’s mood on a daily basis since starting. I believe the lessons have given Brandon something he can really look forward to, as he gets a real sense of purpose from his lessons.”

Brandon said:  “I have wanted to do flying lessons for a very long time, to be more specific, I have wanted to do them since I was 6. This is when I went on my first flight with TUI to the Canary islands in Spain. I loved the experience of flying and immediately thought how much I would like to fly a plane.

Before being supported by Autism Initiatives, I didn’t get any encouragement to do the things that I wanted to do, especially flying lessons. This is because my previous staff team had very little confidence in my abilities. However the staff team I have had since being with AI have been very supportive and helpful, making it easier for me to achieve my goals, such as starting flying lessons.

Since starting my flying lessons I have been much happier in general, but it has also given me more confidence, allowing me to interact more with others as well as being more open to potential changes in life.
Since being with AI, I have noticed a massive reduction in restrictions. This newfound freedom, paired with my new, supportive staff team has enabled me to achieve goals that would have been extremely hard/impossible with  my previous carers. Because of this my quality of life has improved drastically. I look forward to seeing what else I can achieve with the support of AI.”