The Free Flight Physiology Project is led by Dr Matt Wilkes, University of Portsmouth.
The group was founded by doctor and paraglider pilot Dr Matt Wilkes and physiological ecologist Dr Lucy Hawkes (University of Exeter) in 2015. They decided to fuse Matt’s work in altitude and remote medicine with Lucy’s experience of studying extreme animal migrations to investigate the beautiful and fascinating world of free flight.
A huge number of generous and talented individuals and organisations have been involved in the research so far, including the Aerospace Medical Association, BHPA (Dave Thompson), RAF Centre for Aviation Medicine (Dr Pete Hodkinson), Cloudbase Mayhem (Gavin McClurg), Cranfield University (Dr Rebecca Charles), Cross Country Magazine (Ed Ewing), DHV, Escape Paragliding (Jocky Sanderson and Chris White), Flugschule Hochries (Jessi Barlow), Flybubble, Flyeo (Malin Lobb and Fabien Blanco), Flymaster, Free Flight Research Lab (Michael Vergalla), Hexoskin, Lanarkshire and Lothian Soaring Club, McMaster University (Prof Martin MacInnis), Outdoors Company, Ozone Chabre Open, Rab Equipment, Paraflysim, Royal Aeronautical Society, Scottish Hang gliding and Paragliding Federation, SEARCH Projects (Tom de Dorlodot and Horacio Llorens), Stoward Scientific, Summit Oxygen, Sup’Air Paragliding, Thames Valley Hang gliding and Paragliding Club, University of Exeter (Dr Lucy Hawkes), University of Portsmouth (Professor Mike Tipton, Dr Heather Massey, Dr Clare Eglin, Geoff Long), Verbier Summits, VuAir (Andre Bandara).
A lot of our work is self-funded: we are passionate about free flight, good science and safety. We have been helped by small grants from the Royal Aeronautical Society and the Universities of Portsmouth and Exeter, and support from Cross Country Magazine and Sup’Air. We would be incredibly grateful for any donations to help us with the cost of our research. Information on how to support us can be found here.