ibnlive » India

Jun 19, 2007 at 06:52am IST

Blind pilot to fly halfway around world

Bhopal: He has scaled Mount Kilimanjaro and run marathons in the Sahara and Gobi deserts. And now 58-year-old Miles Hilton Barber is in Bhopal, making a stopover in his attempt to fly halfway around the world in a microlight plane.

Flying is not easy for the 58-year-old man given the fact that he is completely blind.

Barber lost his eyesight 25 years ago due to a genetic condition, but he took it as a challenge to change people's preconceived ideas about being blind.

This particular trip is aimed at raising a million pounds for a blindness prevention charity.

But Barber's message goes deeper.

“The biggest thing we need in the world is people have come together. The stupidity is that the world leaders sitting far apart making judgments. But when we sit together, we realise all the people in the world want peace,” says Barber.

Barber's plane is fitted with an audio device that reads out navigational information such as air speed and altitude.

He's also accompanied by co-pilot Richard Hardy, whose task is to monitor Barber's progress on his 21,000-kilometre journey.

“I think that Hilton is trying to demonstrate that anything is possible by blind people,” says Hardy.

Barber, who left Britain for Australia on March 7, hopes to complete his journey in less than 55 days.

If he can do it in less than 49 days, he would have set a new record for all pilots, not just those with disabilities. But even if he doesn't, Miles Barber is proof that you don't need sight to be a visionary.