About Us

Matt Wilkes and Lucy Hawkes

Our group was founded when mountain doctor and paraglider pilot Dr Matt Wilkes met physiological ecologist Dr Lucy Hawkes 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. Our aims: to improve the safety and performance of pilots and optimise accident management, all while pushing the boundaries of comparative physiology research.

Group Members

  • Dr Matt Wilkes (Lead) | UoP Extreme Environments Laboratory
  • Fabien Blanco | Flyeo
  • Dr Mike Coupe | Royal United Hospitals, Bath
  • Tom de Dorlodot | Red Bull SEARCH Projects
  • Dr Clare Eglin | UoP Extreme Environments Laboratory
  • Dr Lucy Hawkes | University of Exeter
  • Horacio Llorens | Red Bull SEARCH Projects
  • Malin Lobb | Flyeo
  • Geoff Long | UoP Extreme Environments Laboratory
  • Dr Martin MacInnis | McMaster University
  • Dr Heather Massey | UoP Extreme Environments Laboratory
  • Sofia Pineiro | Red Bull SEARCH Projects
  • Jocky Sanderson | Escape Paragliding
  • Prof Adrian Thomas | University of Oxford
  • Prof Mike Tipton | UoP Extreme Environments Laboratory
  • Michael Vergalla | Free Flight Research Lab

How are we funded?

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.