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Supporting Flying Scholarships for the Disabled and Young Eagles

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Steve Wood - More Than Just a Pilot

Steve started flying in 1993 when he qualified for a FAA licence at  Montgomery Field (MYF), San Diego CA during the worst winter weather for over a decade - in just over two weeks intensive training, quite a  record in itself! The next year he went on to fly in the challenging  environment of New Zealand and gained a NZ licence. In 2005 he added an instrument rating to his complex & high performance sign-offs and has flown over 70 different types of airplane during his 2500+ flight hours.

Born and still living in the spa town of Harrogate, in North Yorkshire, Steve finds he’s often mistaken for fellow Yorkshireman and TV personality gardener Alan Titchmarsh. Being of a similar age and born within 20 miles of one another adds to the likeness!

Steve’s record setting started early when he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors at the youngest possible age of 30. Since then, alongside his surveying career, he has instigated numerous challenging projects including building his own home, a car and a record setting airplane. Steve is a past member of Rotary International and has been promoting Rotary during his record setting flights.

In the 1980’s he produced a video series on Ferrari’s and developed a format adopted by the BBC in their Top Gear programme showing the video testing of performance cars.

However, Steve has not only enjoyed fast cars, motorcycles, sailing, flying and world travel but has put much effort into voluntary work associated with aviation.

Firstly in 1991 he formed Heli-Aid to pressure the UK government and ambulance services into establishing a widespread HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Services) system throughout the UK. The background support of HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH The Duke of Gloucester, and a presentation at the ambulance service convention resulted in the development of HEMS operations in most ambulance service areas - a great success!

In 1998 Steve established GreenHawk Trust as a UK Charitable Trust to provide free Young Eagles flights to disabled, disadvantaged and life limited children. This opened doors to some interesting events and well over 1000 children were flown in the three years before Steve (and his airplane 'GOOFY') went to live half the year in Florida. Even now the flights continue - for example at the RAF Cosford air show  preview day in 2005 when Polly Vacher, the record setting aviatrix, joined Steve in flying special needs children in a fun filled day. Steve is now fully supporting Polly's passion of Flying Scholarships for the Disabled and its Royal International Air Tattoo connection, through Able Flight in the USA.

Steve has an interesting story to tell behind his record setting flying exploits. From the initial delivery of the airplane parts, heavily damaged in transit, through the trials and tribulations of a seven year build in both the UK & Florida. The two years of planning and negotiations setting up what should have been a record setting round the world flight. Surviving not one but two engine failures shortly after the world flight started, the last failure when flying over the mountainous forests of southern Ohio when the engine exploded in mid-air. Skimming the trees, Steve survived an off-airport landing being more fortunate than a pilot flying a similar airplane a couple of months later who was killed when his plane crashed into a forest in nearby Pennsylvania.

Steve splits his time between Harrogate and Florida, where he  lives at the world’s largest (and greatest) Fly-in community -  Spruce Creek, Daytona Beach, Florida. He’s also the Publisher of an online aviation magazine - Speedi Wings & Wheels

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