NATS surmounts Manchester ATC tower stairs for Aerobility

30 May 2022

NATS, the UK’s leading provider of air traffic control services, hosted a fundraiser with a difference at the control tower at Manchester Airport on 17 May, with employees climbing the 19 storeys of 288 steps 20 times up and down to raise money for charity.

More than 30 people took part in the challenge, climbing 978 metres each – equal to reaching the summit of Scarfell Pike – by the time they had finished. More than £1,000 was raised on the day, with all money being donated to Aerobility, the British disabled flying charity and one of NATS’ corporate charity partners.

For nearly 30 years, Aerobility has been providing anyone with any disability, with access to the magic and wonder of flight. They do this because taking the controls of an aircraft, can change the flyers perspective on the world along with their personal capabilities forever.

A local girl guide group from South Manchester made posters and banners to decorate the tower stairwell with inspirational quotes, and music, disco-lights and sweet treats were on hand for extra motivation.

The event was one of several training days organised ahead of a five-peaks challenge in July. The NATS Airports team are hoping to raise £15,367 for Aerobility, climbing 15,367 feet, the total height of all five peaks in the territories in which they operate – Ben Nevis (Scotland), Scarfell Pike (England), Snowdon (Wales), Slieve Donard (Northern Ireland) and the Rock of Gibraltar (Gibraltar).

Spearheading the effort at Manchester Airport was NATS GM of the air traffic control tower, Daryl Heaselgrave, who said, “The Airports team was inspired to fundraise after hearing first-hand from Aerobility about the impact flying has on its students, young people and aspiring pilots.

“NATS has worked closely with the charity for more than ten years, and after a difficult couple of years for the aviation industry, we thought this would be a great physical and mental challenge to bring the team closer together and achieve something worthwhile.”

Mike Miller-Smith, CEO at Aerobility, said, “What a wonderful organisation NATS is. Ten years of supporting disabled aviation and they come out of lockdown with a challenge to do even more for the young people we support. This speaks to just how special and important a supporter they are.

“Giving our flyers the opportunity to fly-in to Manchester was incredible. To see our planes in amongst international airliners was something we will all remember. Disabled pilots, in light aircraft, flying into Manchester International – talk about pushing boundaries and recognising ability. It was very special and a day that truly changed lives. We can’t thank NATS enough.”

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