Herts man to lead microlight expedition to the South Pole

Richard Meredith-Hardy about to fly over Mount Everest Credit: Richard Meredith-Hardy

To call Richard Meredith-Hardy a microlight pilot wouldn’t do him justice. He’s the only person to have flown a microlight over Mount Everest. Amongst plenty of other achievements he’s also flown from London to Sydney and from London to Cape Town.

His next expedition though, is quite an undertaking. An organisation called Flying 4 Freedom has teamed up with Help For Heroes to create the British Antarctic Microlight Expedition.

The journey will see him lead seven disabled service personnel as they fly microlight aircraft to the South Pole. This is something that nobody has ever attempted.

"Microlight flying is a challenging recovery opportunity for the disabled and one that Flying for Freedom hopes to establish in centres around the UK. The long-term objective is to show how Flying for Freedom can help injured former service personnel make a successful transition to civilian life and work by highlighting their ability,not their disability."

This week the team has taken delivery of their first modified training microlight. When Richard gets his new aircraft, he’ll take it to Sweden where they’ll do cold weather testing.

Richard Meredith-Hardy with Captain Luke Sinnott and an adapted microlight Credit: John Laity/British Antarctic Microlight Expedition

"Minus 20 is fine. At minus 30 weird things start happening like batteries don't work, liquid crystal displays don't work, wiring cracks, hoses burst, all sorts of things happen, so you have to do a huge amount of testing, just to make sure everything's going to work"

Richard’s been flying for about 30 years. He says he got into microlighting when he saw a friend flying one. Once he’d had a go, he was hooked!

He says after all his adventures around the world, Hertfordshire is still a great place to fly.

You can find out more about Richard here.

The expedition is now scheduled for December 2014 because of the amount of planning involved. It will be officially launched in London on Tuesday 22nd January.