Plans to soar over South Pole in microlights

Flt Lt Kat Janes
Flt Lt Kat Janes

An RAF Boulmer servicewoman is part of a team that is aiming for a trio of firsts as they fly microlights to the South Pole.

This is something that no one has done before and this expedition will see seven disabled service personnel piloting the aircraft.

And Flt Lt Kat Janes,an aerospace battle manager from Alnwick, is one of those in training ahead of a planned attempt in December 2014.

The 37-year-old, who has had difficulty walking since she caught an infection in Cyprus in 2007, was delighted when she was selected for the team.

“Obviously it’s completely different to anything I have ever done before,” she said. “I do like flying and I have never flown a microlight before. It will be a whole new experience being open to the elements.”

If successful, the mission would be the first to fly flexwing microlights in Antarctica, the first to the South Pole and the first to fly over Mount Vinson, the continent’s highest point.

“I can’t wait,” said Flt Lt Janes. “Naturally I’m a little bit apprehensive but the good thing is that it’s never been done before and it’s an environment to which I’ve never been before.”

Before the attempt, there’s plenty more training to come – to fly solo you need 25 hours’ experience – as well as a planned practice flight from the UK to Istanbul as the distance matches that which will be flown in Antarctica, winter training in Sweden and a trip to the North Pole.