Ticket to the Northern Lights
With their magical play of fluorescence, the Northern Lights have always been among the most unusual and most impressive natural spectacles on Earth. A group of seventeen children and adolescents with development and learning difficulties from the area of Bristol, UK, received the unique opportunity to experience this fascinating play of light on board an A320. All were supported by the British charity Action for Children. The charity regards itself as a voice for disabled, disadvantaged and neglected children.
Since it was the very first flight for some of the 5-16 year-olds, the excitement before take off was accordingly high. After taking off from Bristol Airport the flight took them due north. After roughly 90 minutes not only a stunningly starry sky was visible, but also the first glimmer of light which then grew steadily into a complex aurora borealis (Northern Lights). A group of astronauts accompanied the children and young people on their journey and explained the spectacle from a scientific perspective.
With this flight, EADS and the charity Aviation Without Borders (AWB) held good on the promise they had given Andrew Holland. Andrew, 20, who is mentored by Action for Children and flew to the Northern Lights in 2009, drew a picture inspired by this event. It was then selected as the motif for the 2010 EADS Christmas cards. A part of the money that was raised by the sale of cards was donated to AWB by EADS. Both AWB and EADS promised Andrew that this donation would be used to enable other disadvantaged children from Action for Children an adventurous journey into the world of aviation and spaceflight.
A company Christmas Card flies Andrew on cloud nine
It all began in November 2009 when a group of young people from the organisation Action for Children were invited by Aviation without Borders, the UK branch of Aviation Sans Frontières, on an Airbus sponsored flight to view the Northern Lights. This flight inspired Andrew Holland, a nineteen-year-old with severe learning disabilities, to produce an impressive drawing of the sight and his art work was actually used for EADS’s 2010/11 Season’s Greetings Card.
As a long term partner of the ASF organisations, EADS traditionally makes a donation to the charity for every greeting card sent. When a framed version of the card with Andrew’s drawing was presented to him and other young adults at the residential home of Action for Children last December, EADS and AWB promised Andrew that he and his friends will receive a part of the donation to be used for another adventurous trip into the world of aerospace. The promise was kept and on 15th October 2011 Andrew and his colleagues were invited for a special Smiling Wings Day to Kemble Airfield. As the day was organised as a thank you, all five young adults flew with a qualified flying instructor on a short trial lesson. Each had a chance to pilot the aircraft and experience the fascination of flight first-hand. A fitting award for Andrew’s aviation inspired drawing!
A plane to save lives
In order to better meet the humanitarian needs of isolated and deprived populations in Central Africa, ASF France launched in 2010 the operation “A plane to save lives” to acquire a third Cessna Caravan 208B. To finance the purchase of this new plane, they symbolically divided it up into 40,000 virtual parts and sold them at a price of 50 Euros each.
Last June, at the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget, EADS has promoted the operation by displaying an ASF Stand on its Static. EADS employees volunteered to inform air show visitors about “A plane to save lives” and encourage them to donate to this cause and to participate in a quiz. During this operation, ASF collected almost 40.000 Euros in one week.
The project ended in November 2011. "A plane to save lives" has been a great succes with the collect of 750.000 Euros. Thanks to the donations, ASF will be able to buy a third Caravan to support humanitarian needs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
A flight against hunger
The hunger crisis in East Africa has gone from bad to worse, and experts say it has not yet peaked. More than twelve million people in the region are currently dependent on the support of relief organisations.
On the 20th of September, the German association Luftfahrt ohne Grenzen (LOG) has sent the second aid flight of its operation “A plane against hunger” to Kenya, transporting on board about 60 tons of relief goods. For this flight, the association has been supported by several companies in order to fund the purchase of medicines, food, tents and blankets and to organize the transportation on the cargo plane. With the money provided by EADS, 10 pallets of so called Plumpy Food have been bought. This high energy food is especially requested by the UNHCR as a source of relief for the most starving.