Helifirst, Sam Bailey's venture to become the first quadriplegic in the world to fly a helicopter, would not be possible without the support and help of a number of individuals and organisations. They include:

Commonwealth Bank provides financial support for modification and training


The Commonwealth Bank, Australia's largest bank, has put its support behind the Helifirst project by becoming the project's major sponsor.

Former Chief Executive Officer, Ralph Norris, (pictured at left with Sam) committed to getting Sam into the air and as a result the bank has funded the modification of the helicopter and Sam and Jenny's training.

Disabled Black Hawk pilot Glenn Todhunter helps manage project

Glenn Todhunter (pictured centre right) has been part-time project managing the Helifirst project since July 2011.

He brings an incredible amount of experience to the role as he has had to overcome many of the hurdles that will face Sam during his own journey.

Glenn is a double below knee amputee as a result of a light aircraft crash in 1995. He then achieved world-wide attention when he not only got back into the cockpit of his beloved Black Hawk helicopters, but was deemed medically fit for operational Defence Force deployment as an amputee aviator.

He is believed to be the only bilateral amputee military aviator in the world to have actively served in any armed forces as aircrew since Douglas Bader during World War II.

Glenn and his wife Michelle's story appeared on ABC Television's Australian Story in August 2004 and he met Sam at the program's ten year re-union in Sydney during 2006.

He said he joined the Helifirst team because he wanted to help Sam achieve his dream. "I know from personal experience the value of a strong team around you to support unique undertakings," he said.

"I also like a challenge and Sam has presented an ideal opportunity to me to use my aviation experience with a disability to help him achieve his goal."

Dr Heather Parker carries out medical examination for CASA approval

The first step towards getting a pilot's licence for Sam is obtaining a medical certification.

Dr Heather Parker has supported Sam in his quest to fly by carrying out Sam's medical examination for CASA.

Heather is one of Australia's best known DAMEs (Designated Aviation Medical Examiner), is also a pilot and is actively involved with the Australian Women's Pilots Association.

Auto Avia designs yaw control modification for chopper

Sam Bailey is unable to move his legs due to a spinal cord injury so Auto Avia Designs Pty Ltd, one of Australia's leading aviation engineering firms based at Bankstown Airport, Sydney, is working on developing an alternative yaw control for a Robinson R44 Raven II helicopter.

It has been years in the development stage but once completed will allow Sam to control the yaw of the machine via a  twist grip control mounted on the cyclic connected to a servo installation.

It is a research and development project that may open the way for others who are unable to use their legs to fly a Robinson helicopter.

The director of Auto Avia Designs, David Simons, is pictured (centre) and his design engineer, Gerard Blacklock (right of centre) at one of numerous Helifirst meetings.

Aviation Specialists to install the modification into machine

The modification to the R44 will be installed by Toowoomba-based Robinson helicopter authorised service centre, Aviation Specialists,owned by Al McVinish (pictured at left with Sam).

Heliwest agrees to teach Sam to fly helicopter and achieve his dream

One of Australasia's leading helicopter companies, Heliwest - the largest onshore operator in Western Australia – has agreed to help train Sam Bailey to achieve his goal.

Heliwest operates the largest helicopter pilot training school in Australia and opened a new operations base in Toowoomba in January 2011, which is where Sam will do his training.

Sam is pictured at right with Heliwest's Matt Wallace (far left) and former instructor James Hall (far right). Sam is thrilled Heliwest has come on board because they bring an enormous amount of experience to the project.

Sam's wife Jenny (also pictured) will also be learning to fly to support him in his goal.

South Australian singer/songwriter writes award-winning theme song

South Australian singer/songwriter Danny Hooper, has written a song about the Helifirst project called "You Don't Need Wings to Fly".

It has taken out two song-writing awards and hasn't even been officially launched yet, including best spiritual song at the 2009 Australian Songwriter's Awards in Sydney (picture at left).

Danny will perform the song at the first school fly-in and launch of the Helifirst project. Sam and Jenny met Danny while speaking in South Australia, developed a friendship and then asked Danny if he would consider writing a theme song for Helifirst.

Listen to and buy a copy of Danny Hooper's "You Don't Need Wings to Fly".